With the March 1 threat of automatic 10 percent across-the-board federal budget cuts looming, Rep. Kristi Noem on Thursday renewed calls for President Obama to engage with Congress to develop a package of targeted deficit reduction measures that will avoid the automatic cuts.

But while Noem, in a news conference, pointed out that the president and Senate have declined to act on two previous deficit reduction resolutions that passed the House, she said the House is reluctant to try again and find a new direction on deficit reduction in an effort to reach common ground.

“We could pass another bill. But when we put the time and effort into the others and they are not considered, we have no confidence. The ball is in their court,” she said.

If she is not resigned to the across-the-board cuts in March, Noem at least seems close to it.

“The sequestration cuts will certainly hurt,” she said. “That is what overspending often leads to.

“Even more painful than these cuts is the effect of the continued deficit.”

Noem spoke to the South Dakota Legislature last week and warned legislators to prepare for cuts that Rep. Jim Stalzer, R-District 11, estimated could affect the state budget by as much as $22 million to $50 million.

“For me, this reality is becoming more and more clear that the sequester could really happen on March 1. I hope in the next two weeks we get traction. But the fact the president isn’t leading isn’t helping our country,” said Noem.

Noem also said she hopes the president’s call in his state of the union address for investment in utilities like ports and pipelines includes the proposed Keystone XL pipeline that would bring oil from Canada’s tar sands across South Dakota and on to refineries in the U.S.

"I would wholeheartedly support it. That’s an area where we can both agree,” she said.

But Noem’s overall take on the president’s speech is that he wants to increase government spending, ignore the deficit, and he is willing to let the automatic budget cuts go into effect.

“Some of his words may say compromise. His proposals and actions seem to say otherwise,” said Noem.


To read more: http://www.argusleader.com/article/20130214/UPDATES/130214032/Noem-renews-calls-Obama-work-Congress-deficit-reduction-measures

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