POLITICS
06/12/2013 03:39 pm ET Updated Jun 12, 2013

Jeff Flake On Sequestration: Some Lawmakers Relieved To Avoid Cut Decisions

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Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) said on Wednesday that some of his fellow lawmakers are glad sequestration allowed for spending cuts and that government agencies were responsible for making the actual decisions about where to slash funds.

"A lot of members of Congress will publicly complain and moan about the sequester and privately say, well, better somebody else makes a decision than us," he said at an event hosted by the Christian Science Monitor. "Unfortunately, that's what happens."

The mandatory across-the-board cuts from sequestration went into effect on March 1 and have led to massive spending reductions that affect everyone from the elderly, to cancer patients, to children. Congress could have chosen to avert the cuts, but did not. The agencies were left to determine where to cut funding, meaning, as Flake said, members of Congress have kept their hands largely clean of the specific reductions that have gone into effect.

When a reporter stated that pressure seemed to be lower on Congress to bring down government spending because the deficit is shrinking faster than expected, Flake agreed.

"It's amazing what a drop of four- or five-billion dollars a year in the deficit will do," Flake said. "My view is it's still far too large, it's unsustainable. We ought to address it sooner rather than later. But the fact that the sequester went into effect has been another thing that has taken some of the pressure off."

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