Senator Lisa Murkowski today urged the heads of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee to hold a hearing as soon as possible to get hard, precise numbers from the Administration about the $85 billion in across-the-board spending cuts to many federal agencies set to begin on March 1st. With the federal government accounting for one-third of Alaska's economy, these cuts have significant meaning for every region and every industry in the state -- and no specifics have been announced as of yet.
"Alaskans are understandably asking what the impacts of sequestration are going to be on our state, and "I don't know' is simply not an acceptable answer,'" said Murkowski. "Our state deserves better and our state deserves to be prepared for what we are facing -- Alaskans are strong-willed and resilient, but we need to know what we're up against. I also want this hearing to nail down that if cuts are made, which ones make the most sense. I don't want the administration playing politics with theatrical shutdowns like the Washington Monument or Denali National Park just to get headlines when it would make more sense to target cuts elsewhere."
In her letter to Senators Mikulski (D-MD) and Shelby (R-AL), Senator Murkowski writes:
"The OMB report issued pursuant to the Sequestration Transparency Act of 2012 provided which accounts were sequestrable and which were exempt, yet it did not detail, in a practical sense, how the cuts would be implemented. It is imperative that we, as appropriators, understand how these cuts would be administered across each agency and program, and what affect the cuts would have if they are not replaced by more targeted and thoughtful debt reduction measures.
"I respectfully request that our committee hold a series of hearings, or at the very least a hearing, so that we have the opportunity to ask questions and receive immediate responses by agency heads and OMB."