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With Congress still in its August recess, many lawmakers are taking the time to rally the support of constituents back home. And one of the top issues on the agenda of lawmakers from our area are the so-called sequester cuts. The heavy federal budget cuts known went into place last March, and they're set to continue into the 2014 fiscal year, unless Congress reverses them in budget negotiations this fall. David Hawkings, writer of Hawkings Here for Roll Call, talks about some of the details.
On if we're seeing local lawmakers make sequestration a talking point with constituents:
"Well, the August recess is a recess in which most members do take some time off with their families. But they're also sort of out on the policy campaign trail — or sometimes the real campaign trail. But in an off year, when there's no election, they're out talking policy, they're out less often having town meetings with constituents... more often they're visiting local businesses, local government agencies. And that's what we're seeing a lot here toward the end of the month."
On when we can expect budget negotiations to start:
"There have been some back-channel negotiations over the summer — a group of eight centrist Republicans negotiating a little bit with the White House. What we're told is that they have yielded a lot of collegial talk, but no breakthrough. They don't come back until Sept. 9. And then there's only three weeks left until the fiscal year ends."