Carney Skirts Questions on W.H.’s Unfulfilled Doomsday Sequester Warnings

by Andrew Johnson

At today’s White House press briefing, Jay Carney sparred with Fox News reporter Ed Henry over the administration’s claim that sequestration would force furloughs of border-patrol agents, pointing out to Carney that the agency announced yesterday those furloughs would be delayed. Henry pressed Carney about the sudden change of plans, but the press secretary avoided giving a straight answer on the issue, saying that the sequester’s impact is still uncertain.

In February, Homeland Security secretary Janet Napolitano warned that the sequester’s automatic cuts would mean losing the equivalent of 5,000 agents at the beginning of April, suggesting that this would endanger border security. But yesterday, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency said that those cuts would be delayed after “re-examination.” Henry asked later in the briefing whether the agency’s ability to prioritize certain programs and maintain staffing levels called into question the White House’s constant claims that sequestration can’t be managed and will have serious negative consequences; again, Carney failed to offer a clear explanation.

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