Gov. Nikki Haley made it clear Monday that she is frustrated with Washington leaders over the looming automatic budget cuts known as “sequestration,” which will take effect on Friday if Congress and the White House do not act.
Haley made the comments against across-the-board cuts in a U.S. Chamber of Commerce forum with other Republican governors shortly after a meeting with President Obama.
“My kids could go and find $83 billion out of a $4 trillion budget. This is not rocket science,” she told reporters Monday, “What this is, is an inability to want to get to work.”
As part of a 2011 deal that raised the nation’s debt ceiling, lawmakers agreed to cut back federal spending by $1.2 trillion over the next decade. That would include $83 billion this current year. Lawmakers had hoped to avoid the reductions by agreeing to more specific budget cuts, but talks between Republicans and Democrats fell apart in the months after the original deal. Congress voted to postpone sequestration from taking effect for two months in January.
Haley accused the president and lawmakers on both sides of playing political games rather than reaching a solution. “I would challenge the President and the leadership in Congress to sit at a table and quit talking through the media about what needs to be done,” she said, “No one should be going home. No one should be playing golf. No one should be taking vacations.” … “We stay until we get it done.”
Haley was with most of the other state executives in D.C. for the annual National Governors Association meeting. Obama spoke to the group Monday, ”These impacts will not all be felt on Day One but rest assured, the uncertainty is already having an effect,” the president said. “Companies are preparing layoff notices. Families are preparing to cut back on expenses and the longer these cuts are in place, the bigger the impact will become.”
Obama then met with the NGA privately for about an hour.