Sequester effects split Kentucky delegation on Hal Rogers' bill to give military agecies flexibility

03/07/2013 11:11 AM

Kentucky’s delegation in the U.S. House was divided Wednesday over legislation introduced by U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers of Somerset that would keep the sequester cuts in place but add flexibility for military agencies to figure out those cuts.

Tensions were high Wednesday in the U.S. House of Representatives as the Continuing Resolution passed with a vote of 267-151.

Rogers, the chair of the House Appropriations Committee and sponsor of the legislation, said the House did the right thing in passing the legislation as the country continues to get it’s fiscal house in order.

“Congress must do its duty to ensure that our national defense remains sound at all times, and our economy continues on the path to growth and recovery,” Rogers said in a press release.

Kentucky Republican Congressmen Hal Rogers, Brett Guthrie, Ed Whitfield and Andy Barr voted in favor of the legislation, while Democratic U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth of Louisville and U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie of Lewis County voted against it.

But those no votes came for different reasons. Massie said in a statement that he voted against the continuing resolution because it perpetuates an unbalanced budget.

According to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the Democrats in Congress have offered alternatives that would replace the sequester cuts with a balanced budget plan but those have not been voted on.

In a statement to Pure Politics, Yarmuth explained his “no” vote as a statement against hurtful cuts to the 3rd Congressional District he represents.

“This bill reaffirms the irresponsible cuts of the sequester. It jeopardizes programs that are critical to the health, education, and financial security of Louisville families, while undermining our efforts to create jobs and drive economic growth.”

The legislation is seen by some as a vote for the sequester because it keeps the cuts brought on by the sequester in place but cushions the effect for military agencies.

Roll Call reported that the continuing resolution doesn’t protect military and veterans programs from the cuts through the sequester but gives the them greater ability to move around the funds.

That flexibility is part of the reason that Barr voted in favor of the legislation. His statement to Pure Politics said:

“While the Continuing Resolution does not reverse the impact of every indiscriminate cut required by President Obama’s sequester, it represents progress. It avoids a government shutdown in a few short weeks; locks in vital spending restraint; and – most significantly – it provides the Department of Defense with the flexibility it needs to prevent the sequester from compromising our national security.”

Jacqueline Pitts

Jacqueline Pitts joined the cn|2 political team in June 2012. A graduate of WKU, Jacqueline grew up in Nashville, TN and is looking forward to having a front row seat to Kentucky politics. Follow Jacqueline on Twitter @Jacqueline_cn2. She can be reached at 502-792-1114 or jacqueline.pitts@twcnews.com.

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