Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) will argue against continued sequester cuts on Monday during a town hall at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Maryland headquarters, according to an announcement from the lawmaker’s office.
“Sequestration is hurting real people and real families,” Cardin said in a statement. “It’s hurting our national security readiness and local economies.”
The NRC has trimmed about $52 million from its pre-sequester budget of $1 billion under the automatic spending reductions, according agency spokesman Eliot Brenner. The agency largely met its cost-cutting targets by delaying licensing for new reactors, reducing educational grants and training for agency staffers and scaling back on IT investments, Brenner said.
Congress, which is heading toward battle over the federal budget and debt limit, has shown almost no indication that it will reach a deal to end the government-wide austerity plan this year. Failure to reach an agreement on a federal spending plan could result in a partial government shutdown at the end of next month.
Last week, House Speaker John A. Boehner said he plans to avert a shutdown by passing a “short-term” budget that keeps the sequester cuts in place.
“Until the president agrees to better cuts and reforms that help grow the economy and put us on path to a balanced budget, his sequester — the sequester he himself proposed, insisted on and signed into law — stays in place,” Boehner said during a conference call with GOP lawmakers.
Cardin wants to replace automatic cuts with “a realistic budget” before the reductions grow larger for some agencies next year. “It is irresponsible to let political dysfunction get in the way of ensuring for our national security and public safety,” he said in the town hall announcement.
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