ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - As the uncertainty of automatic federal spending cuts plays out, there's plenty of finger-pointing from both parties as congressmen and woman return home for a long weekend.
The deadline to avoid the budget sequester is set as March 1 although the White House has said the president, "ever hopeful" of a compromise, will wait until close to midnight to order the $85 billion in cuts.
Members of New Mexico's congressional delegation were visiting the state Friday meeting with constituents and getting feedback.
Rep. Steve Pearce, R-N.M., said Speaker of the House John Boehner has sent congressional members home.
"We work, we've got town halls, we've got things planned," Pearce said. "I told our leadership I'm more than happy to cancel. He said frankly, the president's not communicating anything."
Pearce, who represent the state's Second District, was in Albuquerque Friday morning taking calls from radio listeners at KKOB.
Some callers expressed frustration that the looming cuts will have families tightening their belts even more in a tough economy.
New Mexico is expected to be hit hard especially because so much of the state's economy depends on federal spending and federal jobs.
Pearce said members of Congress have also felt the effects of cuts.
"We've already taken an 11 percent cut, and as of today, we're going to have another 11 percent, so we've actually given up 22-plus percent of our budget for our offices -- significant cuts," Pearce said. "We're leading by example, in my opinion."
Pearce said this trip home is a short one and that he expects to return to Washington by Sunday. He's scheduled a town hall meeting in the Los Lunas City Council chambers beginning at 10:30 a.m. Saturday.
Rep. Michelle Luján Grisham, D-N.M., was in her central New Mexico district Friday with plans to visit a family clinic, senior center and Head Start program in Torrance County.
She earlier issued a statement saying House and Senate Democrats had offered balanced plans to avoid the sequester cuts.
"Yet Republicans have refused to work toward compromise on a plan to reduce the deficit because they refuse to ask the wealthy to pay a little more by closing tax loopholes," she said in the statement.
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