Virginia Democrat on sequestration: 'Is it a crisis or not?'

Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va. Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va. AP file photo
A banging gavel cut off Democratic Reps. Gerry Connolly of Virginia and Russ Carnahan of Missouri Tuesday before they could make a parliamentary inquiry about sequestration at Tuesday's edition of the House pro forma session.

Connolly, who spoke to reporters after the brief session, said he intended to ask if House Speaker John Boehner would call members back to Washington to deal with the coming sequestration cuts.

In a now-familiar refrain this recess, both Connolly and Carnahan invoked Harry Truman and the so-called do-nothing Congress of his day, drawing parallels to this Congress.

Connolly criticized Republicans for acknowledging the seriousness of sequestration's effects and then recessing. He suggested the GOP was playing politics.

"Is it a crisis or not," Connolly asked rhetorically.

Asked whether President Obama was also making a political point when his administration counseled defense contractors not to issue layoff notices as required by law, Connolly blamed Republicans for setting up the sequester, which he called a "sword of Damocles."

How will Congress and the president solve the problem, then?

Connolly said the solution would need to include some kind of revenue-raising, a sticking point for some in the Republican caucus.

A reporter also asked Connolly if Senate Democrats had done essentially the same thing as House Republicans--call a recess before an impending fiscal crisis.

Connolly said he wouldn't comment on the upper chamber.
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