All-Star Panel: How administration is handling sequester furloughs

'Special Report' All-Star panel weighs in


This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," April 2, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


JANET NAPOLITANO, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: I don't think we can maintain the same level of security at all places around the country with sequester as without sequester.

ED HENRY, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: The secretary came in here and said that we were going to be less safe. That people were going to be crossing the border because there were less border patrol agents. And then they announced yesterday, actually we are not doing that. So I'm not saying it's not important. I'm saying did she mislead the public?


HENRY: They announced yesterday they are not doing that.

CARNEY: But there are reductions and whether it's –


CARNEY: -- go ahead and report that, Ed, we've made clear --

HENRY: She said 5,000. They said yesterday, we're not doing that.

CARNEY: Talk to the -- talk to those who have been laid off at defense industries. Talk to those who have been furloughed.


CARNEY: -- you can obviously go to DHS --


HENRY: -- she said we were going to be less safe.

CARNEY: Right. And the impacts of the sequester will not all be immediate.


BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: Interesting White House briefing today talking about the sequester and furloughs upcoming. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency telling Fox it's reevaluated its plan to delay and the furloughs and the overtime cuts. And now everything seems fine. We're back with the panel. Kirsten, it's interesting to listen to the different agencies deal with how they are now are flexible to deal with these budgets.

KIRSTEN POWERS, COLUMNIST, NEW YORK POST: Yeah. I mean this is something that I think everybody figured out pretty early, that the administration was coming out and making these claims to try to scare people and try to pin it on the Republicans. And look, it didn't really work at. The polls reflect that, so I do think what Jay Carney said is right in the long term, the sequester, of course, it's going to affect people.

It's not Obama that's saying it's going to cost 750,000 jobs. It's the CBO who has been saying that. In the long run, I think it will affect people.  If you talk to the defense department they seem to think that it's going to affect them. There are people that are laid off. These are real things.  Unfortunately by sort of making up things and exaggerating they undermine the real people that will be hurt by this.

BAIER: What's tough sometimes to listen to, Charles, is when they forget what they said before or at least it appears that they forgot what they said before.

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: I think it's willed amnesia. But I think the real story, and I think Ed Henry is being extremely cynical. The real story is that between our first clip of the secretary saying we are going to have to cut the border patrol.  And today, they discovered in the headquarters of DHS a pot of gold that had been there the whole time. They didn't know where it was. It was discovered like last week or something. And they now are able to fund the border security up to the limit.

Look, it's very obvious what happened here. In the experience in the past when there have been shutdowns or threats of shutdowns, Republicans took the blame. That was in the 1990's with the government shutdown and with the debt ceiling. If anything bad happened, even if it was unrelated, let's say the reduction in our credit rating, the Republicans got the blame.

Obama assumed it would happen with the sequester, so he went after all the stuff that would be really appalling, like denying Iowa tots a visit in the White House, and opening the border. And it turned out that everybody says look they are spending $3.5 trillion a year and you can't have a tour of the White House and you have to end up laying off the border security people? It's absurd. So the blame was headed the administration's way and thus the pots of gold all of a sudden have been discovered in every agency in government. It's an Easter miracle.

BAIER: Today, Steve, Jay Carney said other things can be done, changes. The furloughs can be changed. Meanwhile, you know, just weeks ago there was no flexibility, none.

STEVE HAYES, SENIOR WRITER, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: This is the story. This is now the story of the sequester is you had the administration complaining that they didn't have flexibility, then when they were offered flexibility rejecting that flexibility. And now, as Charles says, you're finding within all these agencies and elsewhere, further out down the line, people receiving federal funding are finding ways to get around the cut so that you don't see the catastrophic consequences that the administration warned about.

There was a fascinating piece in the Wall Street Journal yesterday, where a reporter went and talked to a central Maryland – head of the central Maryland YMCA and asked about how are you going to deal with the loss of $250,000, five percent of the budget? And this person said well, we are not going to not fill unoccupied positions. We are going to ask people to do a little more work.  We are going to seek private donations. And in the end, he said, the sky is not going to fall. So the administration is stepping on its own story. You have got people who are getting this federal money, Jay Carney said today, go ask somebody who is affected with head start. Well, that's precisely what happened yesterday, and they are not supporting his claims.

BAIER: We'll see what happens in the next couple of weeks. That's it for the panel. Stay tuned for a tough day at the anchor desk.

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