Indiana Senator Joe Donnelly said it appears sequestration cuts will go into effect before a deal is reached in Congress, but negotiations won’t stop with the Friday deadline. Governor Mike Pence said the state is planning for the cuts.
The automatic federal spending cuts known as sequestration could include $32 million in education cuts in Indiana, 11,000 furloughed civilian workers from the state’s defense sector and cuts to money for child immunizations and domestic violence prevention.
Senator Joe Donnelly said his preferred solution is significant spending reductions in some sectors balanced with necessary spending increases in others. Failing that, he said he wants more flexibility in where cuts must happen. Donnelly said about one-thirthieth of the cuts take place during the seven days after the March 1st deadline, with about one-seventh of the cuts taking place in the first month.
“The fact that we do get to Friday without an agreement does not preclude the fact that we could come to an agreement shortly thereafter,” said Donnelly.
Governor Mike Pence said he’s urging President Obama and members of Indiana’s congressional delegation to make smarter and better cuts. He said he’s also exploring ways the state can soften the blow if a deal isn’t reached.
“The good news for Hoosiers should be that because of the fiscal strength of our state, we are in a position to mitigate the impact of sequestrations in Indiana,” Pence said.
Pence said that could include offsetting education cuts with a boost in spending in the state’s next budget.