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California lawmakers divided over resolution on sequestration

March 01, 2013|By Patrick McGreevy
  • Assembly Minority Leader Connie Conway (R-Tulare), left, confers with Assembly Speaker John Perez (D-Los Angeles) during an Assembly session at the Capitol in January. Democrats and Republicans disagreed this week over a resolution on federal budget cuts.
Assembly Minority Leader Connie Conway (R-Tulare), left, confers with… (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated…)

As Democrats and Republicans in Washington remain deadlocked over a compromise to avoid automatic, across-the-board cuts to the federal budget starting Friday, state lawmakers in California could not even agree on an advisory resolution urging Congress to avoid the reductions.

Assembly Joint Resolution 14 passed the Assembly this week on a 54-13 vote, with Republicans making up all of the opponents. The measure requests Congress to "act immediately to avert federal spending cuts known as 'sequestration' to protect the California and national economies."

Assembly Majority Leader Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) wrote the measure, which was approved Thursday, just before the deadline for the across-the-board budget cuts to kick in. "Californians rightly expect our leaders in Washington to work together to resolve budget disagreements in a way that avoids the indiscriminate sledgehammer approach of sequestration," Atkins said before the vote. "Today we have united to send that message to Congress."

However, Republican lawmakers said the resolution was political posturing, and written in a way to invite disagreement. They disputed a section of the resolution that urged Congress to "pursue a balanced approach in seeking to close wasteful tax loopholes…" 

Responded Assemblyman Tim Donnelly (R-Twin Peaks): ``It is an insult to every Californian and every citizen of this nation for California to send a letter urging Congress to take more of the people's money, rather than make the tough choices their job necessitates.''

"To have billions of dollars in tax increases is not the answer to prosperity,’’ added Assemblyman Dan Logue (R-Loma Rica).  Logue also said the Democrats scheduled the vote so the Assembly resolution could not go back to the Senate for approval before sequestration kicked in. The Senate approved its own resolution, without the language on closing tax loopholes, earlier in the week but it did not come up for a vote on the Assembly floor.

"It was a waste of time and money," Logue said. "It was typical political pandering by the Democrats in Sacramento.’’


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