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Allen launches another sequestration ad

Republican U.S. Senate candidate George Allen is out today with a new ad that again criticizes Democrat Tim Kaine on defense cuts.

It features Allen speaking directly to the camera, reiterating his accusation that Kaine supported federal budget cuts that could lead to Virginia job losses. (See the ad here.)

“Decisions in Washington ripple through our communities, harming small businesses like this one,” Allen says in the ad. “The defense cuts Tim Kaine supported are threatening over 200,000 Virginia jobs. His solution is to raise taxes. That’s not the answer, that would cost us even more jobs.  My plan would stop the defense cuts by growing our economy, using our energy resources, and creating jobs.”

This has been one of the most prominent issues in the Virginia Senate race, and one Allen has used in ads several times. It stems from last year’s debt ceiling deal; Congress, facing a U.S. debt default if it didn’t raise the debt ceiling, agreed to a package of deep federal budget cuts — called “sequestration” cuts — that would start taking affect this coming January if nothing was changed. The plan was not for the cuts to ever take effect, but instead for them to be a threat to prompt lawmakers to work out a different compromise. But that hasn’t happened.

Many politicians of both parties supported the debt deal that included the sequestration cuts, including Republicans like Gov. Bob McDonnell and House Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor of the 7th district. And so did Kaine, who said the deal prevented a dangerous debt default. No one, however, including Kaine, wanted to see the sequestration cuts actually take effect.

Part of the reason a compromise to prevent the sequestration cuts hasn’t happened is that Republicans and Democrats in Congress are still deadlocked over how to reduce the debt and deficit. Republicans favor cutting spending, while Democrats say they want a package of spending cuts and revenue increases — specifically, letting the Bush-era tax cuts expire on high-income earners.

Kaine has advocated letting those cuts expire on people earning $500,000 a year or more. That’s why Allen accuses him of wanting to raise taxes. Allen opposed the debt/sequestration deal from the start, something Kaine says is a dangerous position that would have let the U.S. go into default. Allen proposes expansion of domestic oil and gas drilling and repealing the federal health care law to help generate revenue.

“Given his long partisan record, it’s not surprising that George Allen’s first direct appeal to Virginia voters is a negative, false attack ad,” said the Kaine campaign in a response to the Allen ad. “In today’s ad, George Allen levels a charge that Tim Kaine supports harmful defense cuts that could cost Virginia jobs, which he knows to be false, in a transparently partisan attempt to win re-election.  The truth, and Allen knows it, is that Tim Kaine has never supported these cuts and has laid out a comprehensive plan to prevent them.”