BOISE -- Idaho's two senior congressmen believe there is little chance Republicans and Democrats will agree by the end of the month on a compromise to avoid a looming fiscal deadline and $85 billion in automatic federal cuts.
U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson and U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo, both Republicans, say leaders from both parties lack the will to hammer out a bipartisan deal to avoid the across the board spending cuts.
The cuts, known as “the sequester,” are set to kick in March 1, and cover a wide spectrum of agencies and programs, from law enforcement and national parks, to the military.
Tuesday afternoon, the congressmen held a question and answer session with the media, and at that time, both agreed a plan of some sort would be reached in time.
They each pointed out there will be issues on the table hard to let go of, but compromise will be needed.
Simpson said there is reason people should understand the federal fiscal issues and care about the debt crisis.
He spoke specifically about how Idahoans will be impacted by cuts. “I tell you if you ask most people how the debt and deficit have affected them they would go--not much, but when you talk about reforming Medicare or Social Security or any other entitlement program, that affects them immediately.”
Crapo agreed and also said the worst thing lawmakers in Washington D.C. can do is nothing.
“The worst option for everybody is the status quo," said Crapo. "If congress does nothing everybody, everybody is worse off.”
The afternoon media blitz was just a warm up for the McClure Symposium hosted by the University of Idaho.
Idahoans packed into the Statehouse auditorium Tuesday evening to hear from a panel of politicians including retired Senator from Wyoming Alan Simpson, Senator Mark Warner of Virginia and Maya MacGuinea who represents the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.
One-by-one, the panel talked about how to deal with the nation’s debt crisis and looming sequester with it dramatic cuts to military, healthcare, and domestic programs.
Simpson and Crapo also say they support a plan released Tuesday for dealing with the nation's growing deficit through a mix of health care and tax code reforms.