Sen. Murray talks sequestration as she tours Head Start class

SEATTLE -- Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., is back in the state highlighting what she says are devastating cuts coming from the automatic federal spending reductions known as sequestration.

The senator visited a Head Start class Monday in Seattle’s International District to meet with its director and to hear firsthand of the upcoming reductions.

“I’ve been doing this work for 15 years, and it’s the worst that I have seen,” said Janice Deguchi, director of the Denise Louie Education Center.

The center serves 57 children in the federally funded Head Start program.  Because of sequestration, the facility will have to make a 5 percent cut to its services.

The cuts are almost guaranteed to allow fewer kids into the program, which already has a long waiting list.

“Incredibly frustrated” is how Deguchi described the impending reductions.  “We have so little time to make up these cuts.”

Murray is head of the Senate Budget Committee and a key player in negotiations to reach a “grand bargain” on the nation’s fiscal problems.

“There are Republicans who are happy with where we are,” said Murray.  “They have one goal, and that is to make government smaller at whatever cost.”

Murray said a recently approved Senate Democratic budget over the next 10 years would cut nearly $1 trillion from spending, but would also include $1 trillion more in new tax revenue.

“I’m willing to compromise,” said Murray. “But I am not willing to compromise when it comes to saying it’s all going to be about spending cuts.”

Republicans, however, continue to hold the line on new revenue.

“The federal government wastes hundreds of billions of dollars each year,” Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, said in this weekend’s GOP radio address.  "We should spend only what we need to cover the constitutionally authorized functions of government and not a dollar more.”