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State News

March 4, 2013

Budget troubles frustrate Durbin, other lawmakers

 

CHICAGO (AP) — U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin said Friday he's as frustrated as most Americans with the repeated "doomsday scenario" involving the federal budget.

Appearing with hospital researchers in Chicago on the day that $85 billion in automatic spending cuts were to take effect, the Senate's No. 2 Democratic leader joined an effort by both political parties to blame each other for the problem when he pointed at House Republicans he said are not willing to negotiate.

"You fix it with an election," Durbin said. "Unfortunately, at this point, there is control in the House of Representatives by a group that invites this. They like this approach. I think it's a mistake."

Illinois Republicans also were pointing fingers. U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam said in a video on his website that he heard from taxpayers who were worried about President Barack Obama raising taxes and questioned why Obama hadn't met with leaders until Friday. Roskam said Republicans wanted "more thoughtful" cuts.

"We don't have to go back to the taxpayers yet again when there's absurd examples of waste and fraud," Roskam said. "We need to be better, smarter and more clever about how we're spending the money."

Durbin's remarks came at a news conference focusing on the impact of $1.6 billion in automatic spending cuts at the National Institute of Health, just one of the many agencies affected by the federal budget reduction. Illinois is the 10th largest recipient of NIH money and could lose roughly $38 million, Durbin said. The cuts could lead to the loss of 727 jobs, he said.

"We have lived the last two years and three months with this doomsday scenario recurring time after time: threatened government shutdowns, threatened economy shutdowns, threats on the fiscal cliff, threats on sequestration," Durbin said. "This is no way to run a government and it's no way to run a great nation."

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