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US Sen. Charles Schumer. File photo: <a href="">Propublica</a> CC <a href="">some rights reserved</a>
US Sen. Charles Schumer. File photo: Propublica CC some rights reserved

Schumer: Sequestration could be "devastating"

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New York Sen. Charles Schumer was in Lowville, in Lewis County, on Friday, to announce the restoration of funding for the state's rural hospitals as part of the fiscal cliff deal.

After his announcement, Schumer responded to reporters' questions about other issues, including sequestration, automatic across-the-board spending cuts that will take effect if Congress doesn't enact another deficit reduction plan soon.

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Schumer called the possibility potentially "devastating" for the North Country economy, particularly because of the region's dependence on military spending at Fort Drum.

But he said he was optimistic that Congress will avoid sequestration. "We delayed it for two months, so it hasn't taken effect yet, and I'm hopeful that we can come up with a much better solution. This is one place that both Democrats and Republicans say we must avoid, so I think, unlike some of the other issues, the tax issue or the Medicare issues, there's more bipartisan support to end sequestration."

The deadline for the sequestration cuts was pushed back by the fiscal cliff deal reached in the first days of the year.

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