Washington (CNN) – The fact that $1.2 trillion in automatic cuts would be triggered by the failure of the deficit reduction super committee to reach a deal made it harder for the committee to make tough decisions on entitlement and tax reform, Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, a GOP member of the committee said Monday.
“I haven’t talked about this publicly at all. I do think having the sequester in place was important for the markets among others, because they knew there would be $1.2 trillion,” Portman said. “I think it was important to be able to pass the debt limit because there had to be some sort of trigger that guaranteed it.”
“On the other hand,” Portman said. “I think it made it easier to avoid making some of the tougher decisions on the mandatory side and on the revenue side. Think about it. Had there been no sequester trigger, and we were facing this reality of not being able to come together on these big issues, I think it would have been easier for us to come together as a group.”
Portman spoke to reporters shortly after the committee formally announced it was unable to make a deal and the $1.2 trillion sequester would be imposed.