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US Congressmen Amash, Huizenga weigh in on “sequestration” debate

Lindsey Smith
Michigan Radio

President Obama and leaders in Congress will need to agree on a way to reduce the federal budget deficit to avoid automatic, sweeping cuts in January. There’s concern that the cuts could have a damaging effect on the economy and military programs.

The cuts are looming because Congress authorized the federal government to borrow more money last summer. In exchange, a bi-partisan super committee(Michigan Congressmen Dave Camp and Fred Upton served on the committee) was supposed to come up with a plan to cut the federal deficit. But that committee failed.

Congressman Justin Amash says, yeah, he called it.

"…That they would raise the debt ceiling, borrow more and then later on say ‘oh we don’t want to do these cuts’ and that’s exactly what’s happening,” Amash said.

Amash, who represents Michigan’s 3rddistrict, was the only Republican from Michigan to vote against what he says was a “phony plan” to begin with.

Republican Congressman Bill Huizenga represents Michigan’s second district. He believes Democrats and Republicans will probably figure something out to avoid those cuts, even during a heated election season. Especially once the Office of Management and Budget completes its report on exactly what could be automatically cut in January.

The AP has a good breakdown of the "nuts and bolts" of the sequestration here.

Huizenga says he’ll be looking for that report, which is expected to come out in the next thirty days.

“I think there’s a higher probability that that brings a dose of reality to what it looks like,” Huizenga said. “But now some of it may be the right thing to do moving forward.”

Amash criticizes members of both parties for not be willing to cut more from the military budget or make serious changes to social security and Medicare. Huizenga agrees that cuts to the military budget should be included in a plan to reduce the deficit.

Democrats want to bring in more revenue by raising taxes for the wealthiest Americans. But Huizenga says the economy is too fragile right now to raise taxes for any Americans.

Amash says Republicans need to be willing to close tax loopholes and special deductions for businesses and industries first.

“When we’ve done that we should look at the (tax) rates,” Amash said. “But I would not be supportive of just raising the rates without looking at all the special breaks that are going out because those are the real problem in the code right now."

Lindsey Smith is a Peabody Award-winning journalist currently leading the station's Amplify Team. She previously served as Michigan Public's Morning News Editor, Investigative Reporter and West Michigan Reporter.
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