Experts on Sequestration: D.C. Has History of Political Gridlock

Lynchburg, VA - Sequestration is two days away, and the posturing on both sides continues. But this is not the first crisis in the federal government. Our country has been here before. Still, experts say the stakes are bigger this time around.

Wednesday, ABC 13 spoke with a political scientist and an economist. Both shake their head about the state of our federal government. Among other things, the sequester would mean a thousand kids in Virginia stand to lose access to early education. Unfortunately, all this government gridlock is starting to feel like deja vu.

"If they couldn't solve this type of thing, they shouldn't be in office," said a man in an ABC News report from 1995.

This 1995 news report was in the midst of another government crisis in the Clinton years. Remember, back then the federal government shut down for weeks.

"I very much hope that in the spirit of the season we can resume these talks in good faith," said President Bill Clinton to a reporter in 1995.

For Randolph College political science professor Vincent Vecera, sequestration has a different flavor than the 90s gridlock.

"It's a little bit different, because the cuts will be a little more targeted, but they're still going to cut things that everybody supports," said Vecera.

Take this: Here in Virginia, the elderly may get more than one million dollars cut from a nutrition program. Economists worry what these cuts, and looming uncertainty, will do.

"That's just basically the game in Washington. They're more focused on short-term politics at the expense of the long-term health of the nation," said Gerald Prante, asst. prof. and economist at Lynchburg College's School of Business and Economics.

For Vecera, politics is at an all-time low.

"Congress's approval rating now is about on par with Communism," said Vecera.

But, the question remains, which political party will come out of the sequester on top? Experts say, if history repeats itself from the 1990s, it's going to be the President.

"Clinton won a resounding political victory. He increased his margins in the Congress and he got the American public on board," said Vecera.

ABC 13 asked our political science expert if he sees an end to this governing by crisis after crisis. He said, yes, if the public punishes the parties responsible by voting them out of office.