PARKERSBURG - A U.S. representative from West Virginia Friday blamed the Senate and President Obama for not preventing the automatic sequestration cuts while the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee said it's the congressman's fault.
"Families in West Virginia are facing another blow to this economy that could cost 700,000 jobs and they are outraged that (Rep. David McKinley, R-W.Va.) made it happen, allowing a manufactured crisis to become a real one," said Emily Bittner, press secretary for the campaign committee.
The cuts, known as the sequester cuts in Washington, D.C., took affect on Friday when Congress failed to reach a decision on spending reductions. About $85 billion in reductions will take place, half from the military and the other half across the board on other federal agencies.
The committee issued a statement Friday afternoon. McKinley issued a statement Friday morning, saying the Senate and the president failed.
"The House did its part and acted months ago to replace the across-the-board cuts with targeted reductions," McKinley said. "After 15 months of doing nothing, (Friday) the Senate failed to find a solution in the final hours. This is disappointing, but frankly not surprising."
The House offered what McKinley called a serious plan to cut spending and reduce the deficit while the plan from the Senate increased the deficit with more spending, McKinley said. He called it a political stunt rather than a realistic alternative.
"Right up until the March 1 deadline, President Obama was traveling the country and holding events to place blame rather than working with Congress to find common ground and create a solution," McKinley said. "Now, he's asked for a meeting with House and Senate leadership after the deadline. Why wasn't this done earlier?"
McKinley chose Tea Party extremism over compromise on a balanced budget cuts, the statement from the campaign committee said. Thousands will be furloughed, travelers will face longer lines at the airport, 70,000 children will lose Head Start, 7,750 customs and border protection agents could be laid off, more than 250,000 Army employees could be furloughed and 14,000 teachers and school employees could lose their jobs, the statement said.
Bittner formerly was a communications director for Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va.
"Americans expect their leaders to come to the table and work on solutions, but Congressman McKinley continues to be part of the problem - this Tea Party Republican Congress," Bittner said. "The only people Congressman McKinley's sequester protects are millionaires and Big Oil corporations."