In the wake of a military training accident that caused the death of seven Marines, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., praised a proposal that would give “flexibility” on implementing sequestration, even though he blocked such a bill before the cuts went into effect.
“But one of the things in sequester is we cut back in training and maintenance,” Reid said on the Senate floor today. “Now, the bill that’s on the floor, we hope to pass today helps that a little bit. At least in the next six months, it allows the military some degree of ability to move things around a little bit. Flexibility, we call it, and that’s good. But we have to be very vigilant. This sequester should go away. We have cut already huge amounts of money in deficit reduction. It’s just not appropriate, Mr. President, that our military can’t train and do the maintenance necessary.”
Reid’s statement associated the training accident with the sequestration cuts in order to attack the law — “These men and women, our Marines were training there in Hawthorne,” he added, “And with this sequester, it’s going to cut back” — but his praise for the flexibility that the continuing resolution affords the military in implementing the cuts contradicts his opposition to a Republican bill that would have granted such flexibility before the cuts went into effect.
“Republicans call the plan ‘flexibility,’” Reid said in February before the Senate killed the bill. “But let’s call it what it really is: a punt. As President Obama said Tuesday, it would simply raise the question: ‘Do I end funding that helps disabled children or poor children? Do I close this Naval Shipyard or that one?’”
He told reporters that he would not change the sequestration law if Republicans didn’t agree to tax hikes. “[U]ntil there’s some agreement on revenue, I believe we should just go ahead with the sequester,” Reid said, per The Hill.