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Lingle grills Hirono over possible cuts to national defense

By Derrick DePledge

LAST UPDATED: 9:56 p.m. HST, Oct 18, 2012

Former Gov. Linda Lingle challenged U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono on Thursday to explain why she voted for the Budget Control Act of 2011, which created the possibility of automatic spending cuts that could cripple national defense.

Automatic cuts to federal programs are scheduled to take effect in January unless Congress and the White House take other action to help with the federal deficit. The potential cuts were included in the law, which raised the debt ceiling and avoided a government default, to help fuel a bipartisan compromise on deficit reduction. 

Lingle said the automatic cuts could put the nation’s defense at risk.

“So how could you go along, regardless of who voted for it or not, why didn’t you do the right thing?” the Republican asked during a one-hour U.S. Senate debate on PBS Hawaii.

“It was either that or the country goes over the economic cliff,” Hirono, the Democrat, responded.

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