(WASHINGTON) -- Democrat Harry Reid commemorated the seven Marines killed in an explosion at Hawthorne Army Depot in his home state Tuesday, and called for an end to sequestration budget cuts at the Department of Defense.
The Marines were killed and at least seven others injured during a training exercise.
The Senate majority leader began his speech on the floor Tuesday by expressing his condolences for those who died and their families, but he soon turned to the sequester cuts.
“One of the things in sequester is we cut back in training and maintenance. That’s the way sequester was written,” the Nevada senator said. “It’s just not appropriate, Mr. President, that our military can’t train and do the maintenance necessary. These men and women were Marines who were training there in Hawthorne, and with the sequester, it’s going to cut this stuff back.”
“I just hope everyone understands the sacrifices made by our military,” Reid added. “They are significant. Being away from home, away from families, away from their countries.”
Reid said a 2014 budget that Senate Democrats are hoping to pass would allow the military some “flexibility” in its budgeting.
Reid later tweeted a video of his statements on the Senate floor.
Reid did not indicate how exactly sequestration cuts could have been involved with the accident.
The Department of Defense has said on numerous occasions that sequester cuts hurt the military’s readiness and capabilities.
Some Republicans have accused Democrats of inflating the effects of the sequester in order to make them as painful as possible.
Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., accused the Obama administration of “touting” negative sequester effects Tuesday, some of which he said were “over the top.”
“They’ve threatened thousands of teachers will get a pink slip, federal prosecutors would have to close cases and let criminals go; even programs like Meals on Wheels that provide our seniors with assistance would be cut; millions of seniors would lose this assistance — another claim; thousands of students — I think 70,000 they said — would lose access to Head Start programs. And I think I even saw the DHS secretary threaten long lines and delays at our airports because of TSA cutbacks,” Issa said at a hearing of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. “Unfortunately, all of these statements I believe to be exaggerations.”
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