August 5th, 2012
11:12 AM ET
2 years ago

Graham: Sequestration 'is the dumbest thing'

(CNN) – Sen. Lindsey Graham on Sunday made a fervent plea for Congress to reach a deal that would avoid the onset of automatic, widespread cuts - also known as sequestration - set to take place at the end of the year, which critics say would especially threaten the military.

"We do dumb things in Congress. This sequestration idea is the dumbest thing," he said on CNN's "State of the Union."

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The cuts, which would total $1.2 trillion, came about after a congressional "super committee" last year failed to reach a deficit reduction deal and instead assigned the cuts to take place if Congress did not find a new plan by the end of 2012.

At issue is the best way to reduce the deficit: Republicans call for spending cuts and amending the tax code (though without raising taxes), while Democrats advocate a plan that would bring in more revenue to close the cap through a tax hike on the very wealthy.

Graham on Sunday said he embraces the Simpson-Bowles plan, which would reduce the debt by $4 trillion in the next decade by cutting defense and discretionary spending, curbing federal entitlement costs and reforming the tax code by cutting certain loopholes and deductions.

It failed to pass with enough votes in the presidential debt commission in 2010, but Republicans to this day still link back to the proposal's key points.

"The construct of sequestration is if politicians failed to do their job in the super committee, the penalty was to destroy the military. We got this wrong. We should fire the politicians, keep the soldiers," Graham told CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley.

The South Carolina senator warned that time was running out and urged President Barack Obama and the White House to reach a compromise with congressional Republicans.

However, Obama put the blame on Congress during a speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars last month, saying lawmakers on Capitol Hill were "playing politics with the military."

"There's no reason that should happen, because people in Congress ought to be able to come together and agree on a plan, a balanced approach that reduces the deficit and keeps our military strong," the president said.

And on the same program Sunday, Obama campaign adviser Robert Gibbs reiterated Democratic calls to raise taxes on the wealthy in order to help make a dent in the deficit.

"Let's preserve the size of the Navy and the Air Force by not giving tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires," he said on "State of the Union."

Watch State of the Union with Candy Crowley Sundays at 9am ET. For the latest from State of the Union click here.


Filed under: 2012 • Debt • Deficit • Lindsey Graham • Robert Gibbs • TV-State of the Union
soundoff (62 Responses)
  1. Logic N LA

    Saying you want to lower the deficit without reinstating the tax cuts is dumb. We need revenue. That comes from taxes. Both parties agree, right now is not the time to tax the majority of Americans, but the upper percentage can certainly afford to give back their temporary cut- say thank you for the 12 years they got and move on.

    August 5, 2012 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  2. vic , nashville ,tn

    I watched the interview; Sen. Lindsey Graham asked president to lead, we know what happened last year. The real problem was House speaker couldn’t reach deal with Tea party. Every thing fall part form that moment
    John Boehner must show some leadership
    Sen. Lindsey Graham don’t worry your party sending more tea party members to senate

    August 5, 2012 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  3. george of the jungle

    republicans keep trying to blame the president but vote down every bill that will help the middle class. WE know where the problem is and will vote you all out come november. Forward 2012

    August 5, 2012 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  4. GonzoinHouston

    We got this wrong. We should fire the politicians, keep the soldiers," Graham told CNN . Well, at least he got that much right. The GOP could care less what happens as long as they maintain their absolute opposition to anything Obama says and their absolute support for the 1%. Overall tax rates are the lowest they have been in over 50 years; we can afford some sort of tax hike.

    August 5, 2012 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  5. sayer

    Republicans remind me of a big brother, they tie your hands and ask you why you can't do anything.

    August 5, 2012 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  6. TM

    No Senator, blocking the debt ceiling increase in the name of blind, psychopathic, political opposition, and destroying the nation's credit rating in the name of brainless, slavish, devotion to an unelected economic terrorist, is a "dumb thing". Sequestration is now the price you pay for YOUR errors. Grow up! Shut up! Deal with it!

    August 5, 2012 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  7. chuck weidemann

    American military held hostage by republican house due to keeping money in the pockets of wealthiest Americans who agree they should pay more!!! What makes that so hard to understand???? Congressman agrees he does dumb things....Honest words at least from Gramham.

    August 5, 2012 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  8. Ray E. (Georgia)

    Our Liberal Friends are trying to wait until they get another chance to pass more Big Government Legistation. Expanding the Economy and lowering the unemployment isn't in their plan. It's Taxing the Jobs Providers out of Existance. Now folks, who will fill up all those shelves at the local Grocery Store if nobody is working? Better look hard of who you vote for in November. The Liberal's remind me of Nero. I still see a return to the 1930's. You???

    August 5, 2012 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  9. USA first

    It is very simple, boths sides of the aisle knew from day one that this would be the outcome. Neither wanted to be on the record as the ones who raised taxes, or cut military, so they agreed to let this well conceived plan to happen. The super committee was just a hoax/coverup for the fact they never intended on finding a compromise.

    August 5, 2012 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  10. Stu Steinberg

    Once, again, Republicans prove that they really do not believe in the basic principles of contracting. Just as GOP governors have unilaterally breached collective bargaining agreements with public sector unions, they now want to breach the agreement they made in regard to budget cuts. Based on the economic principles that Republicans claim to have enshrined in their belief system, these agreements, in legal terms, were bargained for in good faith, by two parties acting at arms length. Agreements were reached and signed. Later, anti-democratic swine like Scott Walker, John Kasich, Mitch Daniels and Rick Scott, solely to suit their political bases, breached these agreements. These are clearly not people who truly believe in the economic and democratic systems they profess to hold so highly. Their arguments about the defense cuts are complete BS–the military will not suffer in the way they claim and we will not be a weaker nation if the deal they agreed to by a wide majority is allowed to transpire. The GOP yells loudly that they believe in the free market, yet, when that reality does not meet their political needs, they act like spoiled children. They claim that only by cutting spending, can we begin to right the economy, but, in the end, they want only to cut programs that will hurt working people, the poor, the elderly and veterans.

    August 5, 2012 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  11. Denver1

    No wonder CNN is down in the ratings. The interview with Romney with Gloria B was sad:-( . I'm someone in the middle & look for CNN to be in the middle but they have become a fake FOX News. Why did She not queston in detail how he was going to get the 12M jobs... Why not pursue the question about why he does not release HIS taxes when this report comes out and sez HE will tax middle class and give tax deductions for the rich.. Republicans voted for this fiscal cliff now because it hits the miltary its wrong but for the poor its OK... double speak for republicans because they refuse to increase taxes.. 2 wars not paid for!!! CNN ask hard questions for both . Quit being soft & showing your for one canidate...

    August 5, 2012 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  12. vic , nashville ,tn

    @ USA first

    You’re 100% right, I am waiting for the day Middle class step up elect more independents, both parties celebrating their victories but other hand voter turnout hitting lower margin
    Good days ahead soon

    August 5, 2012 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  13. You People Aint Seeing Our Tax Returns

    People know that criticizing Obama is NOT a plan to create more jobs. Romney has not bothered to tell the "people" what he will do, only what he will NOT do – release his Tax Returns to the American people.

    He will NOT win!

    August 5, 2012 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  14. wolfpackbob

    We need more revenue? For what? More Solyndra?

    August 5, 2012 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  15. another truther

    Isn't it amazing how so many Republican govenor states are pusing through new election rules to stop the vote of so many disenfranchised Americans, if I didn't know better I'd think they're trying to manipulate the vote including hiding the facts of who romney was and how it did it. Are we a true Democracy anymore?

    August 5, 2012 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  16. Larry L

    "The South Carolina senator warned that time was running out and urged President Barack Obama and the White House to reach a compromise with congressional Republicans."

    Republicans take pride in never compromising. To a Republican "compromise" means roll-over and do it our way – defend the rich and throw the middle-class under the bus. They were the ones who held us hostage last year when our S&P bond rating was lowered. The Tea Party members actually WANT America to fail so they can return to an era where our federal government was weak and incapable of operating in a modern, interconnected world. They are choosing to let the rich have their way with America. For example – Romney's tax returns will prove he pays no taxes! This is exactly what they want. They want us to pay for the country they've profited from so much.

    August 5, 2012 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  17. King

    why wasn't these repubs saying this was dum when they and their lunatic teapartiers was screaming cut cut cut, because the government is spending too much. the repubs finatics had 90 percent of what they wanted and still wouldn't compromise. how can these folks govern.

    August 5, 2012 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  18. Mike Waszowski

    Grover Norquist is quoted as wanting to shrink government to where he can drown it in a bathtub.
    I have an idea...let's give him AND all who agree with them guns and see if they can keep us from having to learn Chinese...or Farsi!

    August 5, 2012 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  19. vic , nashville ,tn

    @ Denver1
    I agree, we got it why CNN rating is are down, CNN this is election year that mean this year belongs to you CNN. You always dominate election year.
    Please CNN step up asked tough questions

    Romney said today when we come out rescission it will create more jobs the fact is our jobs are going to overseas. This rescission different from previous one, and this one created by banks ,
    so How we will do monitors the banks? CNN didn’t ask

    August 5, 2012 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  20. rs

    Typical GOP. Refuse to actually negotiate (on anything), create a toxic debt/defict solution, and when they can't do anything for Americans (like bang out a budget), call their own solution "Dumb", and want to go back to tax cuts for the rich as the solution for everything.

    Voting Republican is like voting for the Taliban.

    August 5, 2012 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  21. rs

    Ray-E. What kind of "government solution" is it that requires women under penalty of otherwise being a criminal to bear their rapists' child. That sounds pretty "big government" to me.

    Meanwhile, if giving the rich huge tax breaks makes jobs- why haven't they made them? We have the greatest number of millionaires and billionaires in American history; corporations are sitting on records profits; banks have huge amounts of cash- yet, no new jobs. "Trickle down" and giving those "job creators" special breaks just bankrupted the nation. I say its time to go back to the maximum rate of 1958- 89%.

    August 5, 2012 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  22. DFW Dann

    Why blame the POTUS? He can only sign or veto a bill that Congress gives him. So far, we haven't seen anything come from Congress so it's really in their hands until the first bill comes forth to be signed.

    I agree with Graham on one thing; if Congress fails to address the issue they all need to be replaced (preferably by independents or 3rd party candidates).

    August 5, 2012 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  23. sgurdog

    It's actually a brilliant way of forcing these idiots into a compromise. It's brilliant because if carried out (and we know it will never happen) then we can actually prove clearly what the effects of cutting spending drastically will do for the economy. It's brilliant because it will pit the GOP establishment against the Tea Party and they'll have to figure out a way to softly tell them how nuts they are to focus on deficits instead of jobs. it's brilliant because Congress hates timelines and ultimatums that force them to match rhetoric with policy.

    August 5, 2012 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  24. Steve

    This mess is brought to you by the Tea Party.

    August 5, 2012 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  25. enuff

    If I remember correctly, it was the republicans who refused to negotiate. It was the "my way or the highway" approach. Well, they got it... now they want Obama to extend THEM an olive branch??? They forced this issue and now they are wanting to have a do-over. Not gonna happen. It's their own fault this happened. Now live with it.

    August 5, 2012 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
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