Mazie Hirono and Linda Lingle
Mazie Hirono and Linda Lingle

REPORT FROM THE LINDA LINGLE US SENATE CAMPAIGN – Mazie Hirono voted last week to keep in place $1.2 trillion in automatic budget cuts that will hurt Hawaii’s economy and severely impact America’s national security. The cuts include $11 billion in cuts to Medicare providers, including doctors; a $4 billion cut in federal funding for education and a $55 billion cut in defense spending that will directly impact U.S. Pacific Command in Honolulu.

Hirono first voted to put into place the $1.2 trillion in automatic across-the-board budget cuts last year (the “Sequestration”) [1], but in a September 6, 2012 debate with U.S. Senate candidate Linda Lingle, Hirono reversed course and said she was against the cuts.

“That’s what she said, but when she had a chance last week to vote to cancel the cuts, Hirono voted to keep them in place,” [2] Linda Lingle Senate Committee campaign manager Bob Lee said.

“She voted for the budget cuts in the first place, then said in the first debate and in recent media interviews that she opposed the cuts, and then voted again last week to keep the cuts. Mazie has flip flopped twice on this important issue. So, what is Mazie Hirono’s position?” asked Lee.

This question is all the more critical in light of the White House’s own report on the impact of these budget cuts [3].  The report issued Friday states that the mandate would require an immediate 9.4% cut in defense programs and 8.2% reduction in domestic programs. These cuts would directly impact defense spending in Hawaii, home base of the U.S. Pacific Command, which would represent a direct and immediate blow to Hawaii’s already weakened economy.

“These automatic, across-the-board budget cuts were put in place due to Congress’s inability to act on our nation’s deficit and debt crisis.  Mazie Hirono’s recent flip-flopping on the issue is no surprise as she and her colleagues did nothing to address these looming issues for her six years in Congress. She took the easy way out by voting for the sequestration – what she now calls a “meat axe” approach – but still does not have a serious plan to deal with the nation’s deficit and debt crisis,” Bob Lee added.

“The people of Hawaii and our nation need leaders in Congress who, instead of playing flip-flopping games that solve nothing, present realistic and effective solutions to our nation’s deficit and debt crisis that will eliminate the need for these automatic budget cuts.  Mazie Hirono does not have these solutions,” General Lee concluded.