By Kim Kalunian, WPRO News
March 1 marks the day a series of automatic budget cuts totalling $85 billion go into effect across the nation for military and domestic programs, the looming occurrence that’s been coined the “sequester.”
Senator Sheldon Whitehouse spoke with Gene Valicenti on the WPRO Morning News Friday, calling the sequester “frustrating as hell.”
Whitehouse said the decision to allow the sequester was “misguided” and hadn’t been thought through.
He said the intent behind the sequester was to force Democrats and Republicans to make a better compromise on how to tackle deficit reduction.
“This was designed to be the worst thing for everyone,” he said.
But instead, a series of events led to the implementation of the broad-based cuts.
Whitehouse said he doesn’t know where to point the finger – someone, he said, proposed it, and in turn “a lot of people in the House and Senate voted for it.”
Despite Whitehouse’s opinion on it, the Rhode Island junior senator said a lot of people in Washington think the sequester is a good idea.
“It’s hard to argue that something is a bad idea with people who think it’s a good idea and…who knows, maybe they’re right; maybe it is going to be not as painful as we think, but I have my doubts,” he said.
Whitehouse said the cuts will begin to “hit home” over the next several months, and he’s hopeful that something will be done in the meantime. But as of today, Whitehouse said there isn’t much discussion over what the next step will be.
“It would be a miracle if something happened today,” he said.