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White House raises terror threat, warns illegals could flood borders after sequester cuts

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Slow rollout

The sequester cuts won’t be felt immediately, as agencies decide how to impose the cuts over the rest of this fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30.

Congress will get a do-over in late March when it reaches a deadline for a set of annual appropriations bills to keep the government open — giving lawmakers a chance to rewrite all discretionary spending levels.

For now, though, the political battle remains intense.

As part of its public relations war, the White House has been bringing out Cabinet members such as Ms. Napolitano and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood to warn that the cutbacks will result in longer waits at airports and ports of entry as a result of furloughed federal employees.

Ms. Napolitano said the cuts to her department will endanger the country by hurting border security and cybersecurity efforts.

“There’s always a threat,” she told reporters. “We’re going to do everything we can to minimize that risk. But the sequester makes it awfully, awfully tough.”

In addition to fewer agents on the border, she said she likely would have to cut the number of detention beds to hold illegal immigrants.

But Mr. Coburn, in a letter to Ms. Napolitano sent Monday, argued that she has flexibility to decide which cuts go into effect and said her department is poised to carry over $9 billion in unspent money at the end of this year — “raising the question of why we would not start by reclaiming these funds.”

 

About the Author

Dave Boyer

Dave Boyer is a White House correspondent for The Washington Times. A native of Allentown, Pa., Boyer worked for the Philadelphia Inquirer from 2002 to 2011 and also has covered Congress for the Times. He is a graduate of Penn State University. Boyer can be reached at dboyer@washingtontimes.com.

Stephen Dinan

Stephen Dinan can be reached at sdinan@washingtontimes.com.

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