While Congressional lawmakers work out a deal to fund the government through the rest of the fiscal year, federal agencies are adjusting their budgets to the across-the-board spending cuts, known as the sequester, that went into effect at the beginning of March. David Hawkings, who wrotes the Hawkings Here column for CQ Roll Call, joins Morning Edition host Matt McCleskey to discuss the impacts on day-to-day life these cuts are having.
On how the closure of nearly a dozen checkpoints around the Capitol Complex is affecting workers on Capitol Hill: "It's taking longer to get to work. They tried to pick 12 checkpoints that are less trafficked by tourists, less trafficked even by hill workers, but those who take Metro or work to work... are having to stand in some long lines with the tourists. Some of that may have been because this week the President was on Capitol Hill for three different days, and whenever that happens, things really slow down. But the Capitol Police Chief has warned people that this is not going away, this is something that people are going to have to live with."
On the decision to suspend tours of the White House: "One is that the President said this week that he is going to try and reconsider to allow school groups into the White House. But meanwhile, the House Republicans have actually tried to go on the offense — they're actually trying to promote tourism at the Capitol. They've released a video... that sort of describes visually why it's cool to visit the Capitol. They make a pretty good argument, in my view, as somebody who has spent much more of his professional life in the Capitol than at the White House."
Where does Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli stand after CPAC: "He is a prototypical CPAC speaker. He is the kind of down-the-line conservative that CPAC wants. And unless you're down-the-line, CPAC is not going to invite you. Two of the most prominent snubs at CPAC were the two most prominent Republican governors in the country: Bob McDonnell in Virginia and Chris Christie from New Jersey. Both of them were viewed as just unorthodox enough for the superconservatives to merit a disinvite."
On the mix of conservatives at CPAC: "I have a feeling that if Bill Bolling had been running for the Republican nomination for governor, he would not have been invited either. It is a sort of a litmus test. They're inviting some people who are seen to have passed their prime in the conservative movement. Allen West, the firebrand and since defeated conservative Congressman was invited. Sarah Palin was invited, even though she is not really seen as a player much in national conservative circles. There's hero's welcomes for Rand Paul and... Ted Cruz, the Tea Party's favorite new freshman, a Senator from Texas, who is making plenty of people mad on the Capitol with his firebrand rhetoric."