Lawmakers offer sequester solutions

WASHINGTON — A Northeast Wisconsin congressman is apparently making plans for the so-called sequester to happen.

Unless lawmakers in Washington reach a deal by Friday, government agencies will have to start reducing expenses by $85 billion over the next several months.

Infographic: What is sequestration?

Republican Reid Ribble of Appleton has introduced a bill he says would help agencies deal with the cuts.

Speaking on C-SPAN's Washington Journal, Republican Congressman Reid Ribble said cuts totaling $85 billion are part of an effort to reel in federal spending.

“We're responding to past promises that right now the country is having a hard time keeping, and we have to begin to find some balance point,” said Rep. Reid Ribble, R-8th District.

Ribble introduced a bill in the House of Representatives Monday night that would allow departments affected by the sequester to target how the cuts are made.

Click here to see potential cuts to Wisconsin programs

“Once that top line number is established, for them to manage the funds in a way that's most appropriate. They know where the waste is, they know what are the lower priorities, and what are higher priorities, and it gives them the power to manage their agencies correctly,” said Ribble.

Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson predicts the sequester will happen. The Republican told FOX 11 he doesn't want to see cuts in the defense department. He is calling on President Obama to fix the problem.

“What he should be doing is hunkering down as a responsible manager, as the CEO, as the Commander in Chief, making sure that the cuts do not threaten further American security,” said Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisconsin in a phone interview.

In comments provided by her office, Democratic Senator Tammy Baldwin said Senate Democrats will introduce this week a solution that would remove the sequester for one year.

“This arbitrary and indiscriminate across the board cuts will reduce, according to many economists, expected GDP growth by half, at a time when we need to be focused on growing the economy,” said Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisconsin.

Republican Congressman Tom Petri thinks the sequester will happen. Petri says the political turmoil outweighed concerns about the economy.

“I think people are more concerned about the fact that we end up coming to these sorts of stalemate situations, rather than reaching agreements to manage our affairs more sensibly,” said Rep. Tom Petri, R-6th District.

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