Walorski said she supports HR 593, the Down Payment to Protect National Security Act of 2013, which would delay the onset of the sequester by one year by reducing the federal work force through attrition and imposing a freeze on congressional pay. She is one of 24 co-sponsors of the bill.
"It basically uses the same kind of common-sense principles used in business, that basically anyone in Indiana would use if they were trying to cut," Walorski said. "So it's predictable, it's plannable, it's budgetable and everybody knows what the playing field is."
Coats, for his part, prefers a long-term fix to the problem, one that doesn't simply kick the can down the road another few months.
"I am on the record for, and continue to support, pulling together a long-term, credible, targeted plan dealing with excess spending," Coats said. "I'm not going to support short-term, small fix measures that simply postpone the inevitable at a time when we have to come to grips with the fact that we cannot keep spending and borrowing without running into big trouble.
"We've tried this push-it-down-the-road, short-term fix stuff for nearly three years, and it's not helped."
Donnelly agrees, saying in a statement:
"The American people deserve a Congress that is willing to work together to get things done. We are faced with the looming sequestration because lawmakers were unable to work with one another to find common ground on a broad initiative to get our fiscal house in order.
"It is time for members of both parties to set politics aside and find ways to significantly reduce spending, close unnecessary tax loopholes, and better balance the budget. Those are my priorities in any package moving forward."
The blame game
But coming to an agreement on a so-called "grand bargain" is easier said than done. Twice in the past six months the Republican-controlled House has passed legislation to avert the sequester, only to have it be ignored in the Democrat-controlled Senate.
"The House has provided two different rounds of alternative cuts that the president and Senate have not moved on," Walorski said.
Democrats, for their part, say the plans that have been put forth by Republicans have been unbalanced. They say they would spare defense at the cost of social programs such as Medicare and Social Security.
At the same time, Republicans refuse to include revenue in any long-term plan to reduce the deficit, as demanded by the president, saying the administration got the tax increases it asked for in January, and now it's time to cut spending.
In the meantime, both sides say they are waiting on the other to act -- and blaming each other for the current situation.
"My opinion is (the sequester) is a faulty idea from the president that was part of the debt negotiations back in 2011," Walorski said, echoing what House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said in an op-ed published online Tuesday.
Said the White House, in response: "Tonight ... the Leader of the Republican Party took to the opinion pages of the Wall Street Journal to engage in an amazing act of revisionist history."
Given the current atmosphere, going over the cliff, so to speak, might be the best way to get something done, Coats said, in that the economic consequences might finally convince lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to put aside their differences and return to the bargaining table.
"I think the only leverage that those of us have who believe we need to get the so-called 'grand bargain' is these automatic cuts," Coats said, "and that is going to precipitate negotiations as far as how we get there."
Staff writer Erin Blasko: