Alaska's U.S. Senators Will Learn Effects of Budget Cuts
FAIRBANKS — Alaska’s two U.S. senators will be among those getting an account this week of how impending across-the-board budget cuts will affect the nation.
The Senate Appropriations Committee will hold a hearing Thursday to hear from top-level Obama administration officials about the massive congressionally mandated budget cutting that is referred to as “sequestration.”
Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Democratic Sen. Mark Begich both sit on the Appropriations Committee.
“I’m going to be flying back to Alaska in a week and my constituents will rightfully be asking what is on the horizon; I simply refuse to go home and say ‘I don’t know,’” Murkowski said in a news release issued Friday.
“It’s critical that all Alaskans understand the ramifications of the cuts scheduled to begin in three weeks and that’s why I requested a hearing,” she said. “I’m hopeful that the administration will provide the level of detail that the American people need and use this as an informational event instead of an opportunity for political theater.”
Murkowski’s news release noted that federal spending accounts “for one-third of Alaska’s economy” and that the cuts have “significant meaning for every region and every industry in the state.”
The cuts — $85 billion of them — are scheduled to take effect March 1, following the expiration of a three-month delay Congress passed earlier this year to postpone the reductions.
Sequestration is the result of the 2011 budget battle between President Obama and congressional Republicans. It was seen as the hammer that would force both sides to come to a grand agreement to reduce government spending.
But a deal has proved elusive, so major cuts are scheduled to commence. The White House says non-defense spending would be cut 9 percent in the current fiscal year and defense spending by 13 percent, according to reports. Cuts would continue in subsequent years.