A week after Senator Lisa Murkowski urged the heads of the Senate Appropriations Committee to get clarity on the looming threat of sequestration and undefined across-the-board federal cuts, a hearing today was scheduled for next Thursday where Cabinet officials will present their spending plans.
With $85 billion in indiscriminate cuts to many federal agencies set to begin on March 1st, there has been little solid information shared by the administration on how these cuts will be done and where the cuts will be made. 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. Senator Murkowski wants to be able to convey the exact details to Alaska. Thursday's hearing will provide, in several cases, the first hard estimates from many agencies with a large Alaskan footprint: Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Education, Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Office of Management and Budget.
"I'm grateful to Chairwoman Mikulski and Ranking Republican Shelby for deciding to hold a hearing on the impacts of sequestration next week," said Murkowski. "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.' 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. 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."