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Ohio's Sen. Portman says the sequester always was a mistake
He says he warned 18 months ago that the budget deal would be ineffective in getting Democrats and Republicans to find alternatives
by WKSU's M.L. SCHULTZE


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M.L. Schultze
 
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Ohio’s Republican Sen. Rob Portman was a member of the supercommittee that was supposed to help the country head off the sequester, and he says the budget-cutting ax is a bad idea.

And, as WKSU’s M.L. Schultze reports, he thinks it will take just a few weeks for Democrats and Republicans to figure out some alternatives.

SCHULUTZE Portman's take on the budget deal

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Rob Portman was a budget director in the Bush White House. That credential helped make him a natural for the 12-member “super committee” that was supposed to come up with a budget compromise in the summer of 2011.

He says he had hope for that committee.

“I probably was more naïve than anybody on it. I thought it was for real.”

Instead, it crafted the sequester – automatic, across-the-board cuts in discretionary defense and domestic spending  -- set to begin this week. Portman calls it a bad idea. And he says he made it clear to a reporter earlier this week that he’s no late convert to that position.

“’Gosh, why didn’t you say that then?’ I said ‘I did,’ and I did. The sequester was not effective because for Republicans there were no tax increases, so that was easier than making tough decisions. And for many Democrats, they didn’t want to look at the entitlement side, and they were happy to look at defense and they saw substantial cuts in defense that they had been trying to get for a long time.”

Portman says he wants to supplant the sequester with something giving agencies more discretion in the cuts, and would like to shift some of them from defense to domestic spending.

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