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Napolitano on sequestration budget cuts: 'Our turnip is pretty dry'

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano warned Tuesday that the budget cuts resulting from sequestration will mean long security lines at the nation’s main points of entry. 

“We will do everything we can do to mitigate those effects,” she told city officials gathered at the National League of Cities Conference in Washington. “But, as mayors you can appreciate there's only so much blood you can squeeze out of a turnip.  And our turnip is pretty dry” 

Napolitano said that the budget-related delays are not necessarily evident now because of the gradual implementation of the cuts and because it is “one of the lighter travel periods of the year.” 

But she cautioned that the furloughing of security employees will eventually mean “significantly longer lines” for travelers as the busier spring and summer season gets underway. 

“Threats from terrorism and other threats that we face at our borders don't go away just because we have a budget crisis,” she said.

Napolitano said yesterday at an address to the Jewish Council for Public Affairs that travelers later this year should budget extra time at security checkpoints due to the sequester. 

"I just tell my friends to just plan on spending some time, and make sure you’ve got lots of things to entertain the kids with," she said. "The lines will be very, very long.”