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Rep. Lamar Smith Says Agencies Should Decide On Sequestration Cuts

Joey Palacios
Texas Public Radio

With ten days until the sequestration that prompts severe cuts to the nation’s defense budget, some lawmakers in congress are speaking against the cuts that no side wants but no one can agree on how to fix. 

Congressman Lamar Smith of San Antonio wants individual agencies to decide on what is necessary and was also critical of the recently leaked White House plan on immigration.

Smith said the house has passed two budgets to try and avoid the cuts to defense and the senate has approved none. Rather than a harsh cut to defense, Smith suggests letting each governmental department determine cuts internally.

"Let’s give the agencies the opportunity t to say, ‘Well, maybe we can eliminate this, but we don’t want to touch defense’ and give them more flexibility. I think that’s the first step," Smith said.

"I would like to see us mitigate the damage we’re doing to defense and I think, if sequestration does go forward, I think you’ll find that congress will vote after sequestration to try to reduce the impact on the military and around our intelligence gathering as well," he added.

The sequestration, which would take effect on March 1, suggests $85 billion in cuts to the Defense Department and other entities.

The president said that if Congress does not act within the next ten days, the sharp cuts would jeopardize military readiness.

Smith was also critical of the president's leaked immigration plan that would allow the undocumented already in the country a type of temporary visa.

Smith said the border needs to be secured before any attempts at addressing the current immigrant population are taken. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida called the supposed plan dead on arrival if it hit congress.

Joey Palacios can be reached atJoey@TPR.org and on Twitter at @Joeycules