While South Mississippi braces for the effects of "sequestration," former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour said in a recent nationally-televised interview he hopes the budget cuts go forward to help reduce the deficit.
Barbour, who left office in January 2012 after two terms, is a former national Republican Party chairman and a regular on cable news political shows. He appeared last week on Fox Business Network in an interview with Neil Cavuto.
"I hope and believe that Republicans will allow the sequestration to go into effect so that we can start down a path of trying to get control of spending and reduce the deficit by savings," Barbour said. "Because I'm like most Americans -- I don't think we have a trillion (dollars) plus deficit every year because we tax too little. It's because we spend too much."
President Barack Obama's office on Sunday released a long list of cuts each state would face under sequestration. Mississippi would face tens of millions of dollars in cuts, including 9,000 civilian Department of Defense employees in the state being furloughed, reducing total gross pay by around $49.9 million. Local military bases have said they rely heavily on civilian employees and most services will be affected by the furloughs. They said the cuts also affect readiness. There would also be cuts to education programs, environmental funds and money for job search assistance, among others.
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Barbour said in the interview he believes the nation can handle the cuts in the Budget Control Act of 2011, which would become automatic Friday if a deal isn't struck to avert it.
"We're talking about a tiny, tiny fraction of the federal budget... " Barbour told Cavuto. "The American people know the government can save 3 percent in a heartbeat."
But he didn't speak in only glowing terms. He said what's wrong with sequestration is the method with which it will be done.
"We've already voted to cut defense spending nearly $500 billion over 10 years and here's another cut almost that large," Barbour said. "The domestic discretionary side, spending on that side has exploded. Even when you make these cuts for most of those categories, they will be far higher (funding totals) than when Barack Obama came into office."
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