Republican Senate candidate Kurt Bills on Wednesday hammered Democratic U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar for her vote for this year's "Budget Control Act."
"The problem isn't that Washington is broken, it's that Washington is breaking us," Bills said.
The measure put in place automatic spending cuts, which lawmakers hope to avoid by negotiating a more measured budget, on a bipartisan 74-26 vote.
Klobuchar is among the lawmakers who say they want to rework the cuts.
""The Budget Control Act was a bipartisan compromise that involved $1 trillion in cuts that have already been made, and another $1.2 trillion in cuts that must be made over ten years," said Klobuchar spokesman Linden Zakula. "The Senator's goal is to negotiate how those cuts will be made over the next ten years instead of having them made automatically."
Bills said that Klobuchar -- and House and Senate members who voted for the budget Act -- should take ownership of the problems that would result from the automatic cuts, which would be enacted in January if nothing changes.
"It will devastate the economy. It will devastate the national economy," said Bills, who suggested Klobuchar does not understand the impact of the Act.
Bills said although he believes the federal government should be much smaller, including backing a plan to shutter the Department of Education and half spending on the Environmental Protection Agency, he does not support the Act's planned cuts.
"We do need to cut," Bills said. But he said, the Act's across-the-board cuts represent a "hatchet approach."
Bills said since Klobuchar is in a "safe seat" she she have done more on the budget.
"People in the middle are looking for someone to take leadership," Bills said. He said she should have been a part of the "Group of Eight" senators working on a deficit cutting plan.
Asked if he took leadership when Minnesota faced, and eventually fell into, a state government shutdown, Bills said he spoke to the Republican House Tax Chair and spoke up in caucus. He said he was not part of any bipartisan group, like the group of eight, that worked to find a solution but noted that the House, unlike the Senate, had passed a budget.