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Talk about sequester impact not there

March 20, 2013 at 10:54 AM
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WASHINGTON, March 20 (UPI) -- U.S. congressional Republicans say they haven't felt pressure from their constituents to do anything about the across-the-board spending cuts in effect.

Republicans said they expect the $85 billion in cuts, known as the sequester, to stay in place until Sept. 30, the end of the current fiscal year, Roll Call reported Wednesday.

Before the sequester went into effect March 1, Obama administration officials spoke of how the cuts would hurt a host of departments and agencies beginning in April -- including furloughs in the Pentagon and closing air traffic control towers at smaller airports -- but even those discussions have faded.

Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., said he believes the country will "live with the sequester between now and Sept. 30."

"I think, generally speaking, people haven't noticed," said Rep. Tom Latham, R-Iowa.

There was one exception, he said, the cancellation of White House tours.

"I'm not hearing anything at home, really," said Rep. John Campbell, R-Calif.

At the White House, spokesman Jay Carney said administration officials still hope the sequester will be eliminated in a broader budget deal, but that likely won't happen for months.

"We would obviously welcome a change of heart by Republicans, but there's no indication from Republicans that a change of heart is forthcoming," Carney said Tuesday.

Rep. John Shimkus, R-Ill., told Roll Call he hasn't been getting any calls about the sequester.

"I was at two dinners over the weekend," Shimkus said. "I asked large groups who felt the impact; not a single hand was raised. It's pretty quiet."

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