Obama administration continues heavy sequester drumbeat

(Steve Helber/AP) President Obama. (Steve Helber/AP)

President Obama and a pair of Cabinet members on Tuesday continued the administration’s steady warnings about the deep automatic spending cuts that are due to take effect on Friday.

In a speech before workers at a nuclear-submarine factory in Newport News, Va., the president said the so-called sequester could affect hundreds of thousands of jobs. He blamed Republicans for the failure to reach a deal to avoid the reductions, saying GOP leaders have refused to compromise.

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano echoed those sentiments in speeches of their own Tuesday.

Holder said during a meeting of the National Association of Attorneys General that federal law enforcement agencies would need to implement furloughs to meet the reduction targets.

“The American people are going to be less safe,” Holder said. “That is just the fundamental reality that people have got to get their heads around.”

In a speech at the Brookings Institution, Napolitano repeated previous warnings, saying DHS agencies would require furloughs to make the required cuts and that “it will have to affect our core critical mission areas.”

Republicans in recent days have criticized the White House for what they have described as a “road show,” saying the administration has exaggerated the potential impact of the sequester.

GOP leaders argue that the president should be negotiating a deal with members of Congress instead of creating a sense of dread about the looming cuts.

For more federal news, visit The Federal Eye, The Fed Page and Post Politics.

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E-mail federalworker@washpost.com with news tips and other suggestions.

Josh Hicks covers Maryland politics and government. He previously anchored the Post’s Federal Eye blog, focusing on federal accountability and workforce issues.



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