Manchin: Sequester cuts will hurt W.Va.

PARKERSBURG – The impact from the federal spending reductions dubbed the sequester cuts in Washington speak will be in the millions of dollars in West Virginia, a U.S. senator said on Tuesday.

Across the board cuts rather than responsible spending reductions will impact programs benefiting children, education, veterans, emergency response, public health and military installations in West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., said.

“There’s smarter ways of doing it, that’s all I’m saying,” Manchin said.

Manchin, saying he is again frustrated by the process without a solution reached, told reporters in a telephone press conference from Washington, D.C., that the better way would be a careful review rather than an across-the-board cut. Manchin supports the Bowles-Simpson budget commission plan that will save $4 trillion in 10 years.

The automatic sequester cuts would begin on Friday if Congress fails to trim $1.2 trillion over a decade. About $85 billion in reductions would be initially made with half from defense and the other half from social programs.

The problem is the political maneuvering by both parties trying to put the blame on someone else, according to Manchin. Manchin is a co-chairman of the No Labels organization that promotes problem solving without partisanship.

Negotiations are under way, but Manchin wasn’t confident a permanent solution will be reached. Rather, the decision will be delayed again and another crisis will come in several months, he said.

He wouldn’t say who was the most at fault for why a resolution can’t be reached, but as a group no side is innocent, Manchin said.

“That’s a bad scenario,” he said.