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Tom Coburn: Harry Reid is wrong to link sequester with Marine deaths

Republican Sen. Tom Coburn on Wednesday accused Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of "political manipulation" when he suggested a fatal training exercise that killed seven Marines was due to the sequester cuts.

"It's tragic that he would even connect the two," Mr. Coburn, an Oklahoma Republican, told Fox News. "It's another unfortunate aspect of words being spoken to try to gain a political advantage rather than doing the right, best thing for the country."

After a Tuesday explosion at ammunitions depot in Hawthorne, Nev., killed the Marines, Mr. Reid, a Nevada Democrat, bemoaned on the Senate floor that "our military can't train and do the maintenance necessary" with the sequester in place.

"These men and women, our Marines, were training there in Hawthorne and with the sequester, it's going to cut this stuff back, and I just hope everyone understands sacrifices made by our military, they are significant," Mr. Reid said.

But Mr. Coburn said such a notion was nonsense because "our military forces don't put their troops at risk" during training.

"They're not going to train if they don't have the proper equipment and time," he said.

The Republican accused Mr. Reid of refusing to allow a vote on legislation that would give federal agencies more flexibility in how they administrator the across-the-board federal spending cuts.

Mr. Coburn also accused President Obama of playing politics with the sequester, saying he wants the cuts "to be painful so he can make the case that we need bigger government, larger government, that we cannot cut the things that we should be cutting."

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