Boston Marathon Bombings: What Do They Mean For Sequestration Cuts?


House Democrats have alluded that the April 15 bombings during the Boston Marathon relate to the sequester cuts due to the fact that the United States could designate money to the country's capacity to thwart and react to terrorist attacks. Reports show that three people were killed and over 170 injured after the explosions went off near the finish line of this marathon, but investigators still have yet to announce possible motivations or arrests relating to these strikes.

While a White House official stated that the sequester cuts "will not hamper" the response to the specific Boston bombing, he is concerned about the long-term consequences.

"We are obviously concerned about the impact of the sequester on the short term operations and long term capabilities of federal agencies critical to the homeland security mission, and the impact these cuts will have on local governments," he stated. "But over the past decade we have made significant investments to build response capabilities at the state and local level, as evidenced by the quick and coordinated response yesterday in Boston."

President Obama commented on April 15 shortly after the attack that the local authorities of Boston would receive all necessary resources to appropriately respond and assist the affected population.

"I've ... spoken with Governor [Deval] Patrick and Mayor Menino, and made it clear that they have every single federal resource necessary to care for the victims and counsel the families," he said from the White House.

The Head of the House Democratic Caucus, Representative Xavier Becerra (Calif.), attended a press briefing on April 16 and said, "We know that first-responders are being cut. We know that community police [are] being cut. We know that health care services, especially emergency health care services, are being cut … why do we know that? Because we know the sequester … demand[s] that we make these blind cuts across the board."

Furthermore, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) expressed his views to reporters and claimed that the bombings demonstrate that the federal government should continue to invest in security programs and other sects of the United States to benefit the nation as a whole: "I think there are multiple reasons for ensuring that we invest in our security both domestic and international security. That we invest in the education of our children, that we invest in growing jobs in America and don’t pursue any irrational policy of cutting the highest priorities and the lowest priorities by essentially the same percentage."

When asked specifically about the sequester, Hoyer included, "I think this is clearly another place where it's demonstrated why hTaving the ability to address security concerns is important … I think this is another proof of that, if proof is needed, which I don’t think, frankly, it is."

It remains to be seen whether the attack will change the Capitol’s stance on gun control or sequester cuts, but it is evident that debates will continue.