February 24th, 2013

Secy. LaHood on GOP plan to avoid forced budget cuts: “While the president has, the Republicans haven’t.”

Today on CNN’s State of the Union with Candy Crowley, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood sat down with CNN’s Candy Crowley to talk about the upcoming forced budget cuts.

MANDATORY CREDIT: CNN’s “State of the Union”

Sec. LaHood:  Well, first of all, we’re required to cut $1 billion.  The largest number of employees at DOT is at FAA, of which the largest number are FAA controllers.  We’re going to try and cut as much as we possibly can out of contracts and other things that we do.  But in the end, there has to be some kind of furlough of air traffic control — air traffic controllers, and that then will also begin to curtail or eliminate the opportunity for them to guide planes in and out of airports.

On GOP blame for forced budget cuts:

CROWLEY:  You’re a Republican.  You spent a lot of time on Capitol Hill before your current job.  I understand that you work for the president now, and he’s a Democrat.  Is it all the Republicans’ fault?

LAHOOD:  Well, look it, this sequester is very serious business, and it requires us to make the reductions that we’re making.  It requires us as painful as it is to furlough the people that we’re going to have to furlough.  And we’re taking it very seriously.  We hope that this week, Republicans and Democrats will step forward.  The president put forth a plan to find the $85 billion.  $85 billion is a lot of money, Candy, and we — there has to be shared sacrifice here.  We’re doing our part.  And part of what we’re doing is saying to people that these reductions are, these furloughs, these–

CROWLEY:  Do you think, do you think, though, that Republicans are solely to blame for this?  It just seemed that way when you gave your news conference.

LAHOOD:  Well, look it, I’m a Republican.  My audience is trying to persuade my former colleagues that they need to come to the table with a proposal, which might be they haven’t done. While the president has, the Republicans haven’t.  I also at that news conference said that everybody around here ought to go take a look at the “Lincoln” movie, where they did very hard things by working together, talking together and compromising.  That’s what’s needed here.