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. another truther

    Mitt the Twit, oh how that name does fit!! The Country needs a man of destiny like BO to mend our economy and what ales society. Sara are you up for some more of your butter cookies?

    August 5, 2012 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  2. enuff

    You threw the temper tantum to get your own way. I guess you should have thought out how "stupid" it really was BEFORE you started acting like a spoiled brat.

    August 5, 2012 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  3. rs

    The Republican/TEA Party has lost its collective mind. Don't enable the mentally ill- don't vote for them.

    August 5, 2012 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  4. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Republicans just blame Obama, but they know it is not his fault. Republicans blame Nancy Pelosi for the 8 million jobs lost from 2005-2008, but they know it is Bush's fault. Republicans blame Obama for congress not voting on the bipartisan senate jobs bill, but they know it is Boehner's and Cantor's fault. Baggers blame Obama for the national debt from 2 unfunded wars, unfunded drug programs, TARP, tax cuts for those who do not need them, but they know it is Bush's and the republican's fault.

    August 5, 2012 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  5. Hawk in Texas

    Are all republicans nuts, or are only nuts republicans?

    August 5, 2012 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  6. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    It is getting to a point where Floridians trust Burmese Pythons in the Everglades more than they trust Mittens and the republican party.

    August 5, 2012 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  7. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Hawk in Texas – The answer to your question is "yes."

    August 5, 2012 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  8. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    I think Mittens has outsourced his blogger jobs India and China. After all, why pay minimum wage when he can get someone to do his dirty work for one-fourth the pay. Show us your tax returns Mittens.

    August 5, 2012 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  9. Susan NO LONGER a REPUBLICAN

    Too bad. You made the deal now live with it! The repubs always want it both ways like little spoiled children. America is wise to you! Vote all the repubs out!

    August 5, 2012 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  10. ExecelentQuestion

    The Repubs want to keep Bush's tax cut for the wealthy, in the name of job creation... Haven't These tax cuts been in effect for over ten years? So please tell me: WHERE ARE ALL THE JOBS THIS TAX CUT HAS CREATED IN THE LAST TEN YEARS PLUS?

    August 5, 2012 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  11. ski2xs

    And Democrats don't have enough sense to blame their democrat officials for essentially forcing Fanny Mae and Freddy Mac to go lockstep along with making bad loans. . . which lead to this entire fiasco.

    They don't have enough sense to realize that when a man runs a campaign on the claim "If I can't reduce the fed def in half by 3 years, then I'm a one term president" they he's BOLD faced lying because even Santa Claus couldn't produce that ante.

    They're too arrogant to do research . . from OUR OWN GOVT. DOCS. . . that show the top 40% of earners pay NINETY NINE PERCENT of the federal taxes, while the bottom 40% stand to get a 3 to 4% return due to various tax credits . . .leaving the middle 20% paying only 4 – 5% of the federal tax.

    And don't even start on the 'cost of the war' you animated thugs try to browbeat and bandwagon. . . By economic comparison we've spent way more on failed social policy introduced by the dems over the past 10 years.

    Now. . . to get back on target. . . .Is Reid so stupid that he honestly thinks that someone who shows earnings like Romney (after all. . .isn't it the Dems in an another animated, hooping and hollering rant, who are talking about the billions he makes????). . . . were to have NOT paid taxes in 10 years . . . that the IRS would be all over it like flies on a cow pie?

    Would anyone here release their returns to me because I demaned it? And if you say 'yes' you're lying like a bad rug!

    Seriously Dems. . . . don't pay your taxes for 10 years (heck, even 3 or 4) and then come back and report to use what happened. And BTW. . . if you don't think the IRS can't release that kind of information your nuts. Just like court records are public, if you've been to tax court, it can be accessed.

    August 5, 2012 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  12. another truther

    Well spoken Wire, another thing the Reps keeping spouting is "Big Government" it has shrunk immensely since Obama became President, their cliches get tiring...

    August 5, 2012 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  13. Bill

    I sure hope the "Poor and Middleclass in Texas,South Carolina, Mississippi,Louisiana, realize "What the heck is going to happen to them, if they vote Teaparty?????? Especially Women,Minoritys,and anybody with less than 500,000,000 dollars!!1 Reality Class 01 lol

    August 5, 2012 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  14. Zsparks

    If it IS true and Romney was legally able to avoid paying any taxes.. Isn't that REID's falut? Think about it.

    August 5, 2012 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  15. ThinkAgain

    The GOP played politics with our nation's credit rating; how it's playing politics with our military.

    This is what you get when a party's leadership is beholden to the top 0.5% income bracket.

    August 5, 2012 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  16. Indie in VA

    "We should fire the politicians, keep the soldiers," Graham told CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley.
    -Yeah, you first, right?

    August 5, 2012 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  17. ThinkAgain

    How did Mittens make his money? By taking over a company and then cutting jobs and employee benefits to boost the company's bottom line, borrow against that new "value" and then abandon the decimated company to sink or swim with its new debt burden.

    And this is also the GOP plan for our country: Balance the budget (create value) by laying people off in the public sector and eliminate all social spending, cut taxes even further for the rich (to facilitate "job creation"), which will create more debt, which will be the excuse to cut social spending even more.

    All that will be left is military spending, which the rich will make billions off of in their new wars with Iran or anyone else they see as a "threat".

    Long story short: Mittens and the GOP want to treat our nation and our people as a means to make money for themselves, regardless of the consequences.

    August 5, 2012 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  18. Salvatore

    He said, "We do dumb things..." Duh ... right about that, you are dumb. Throw the dumb bums out! The dumbing down of American democracy is nothing more than a slippery slope which they've begun to slide down in earnest.

    August 5, 2012 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  19. rasjr1957

    will someone please tell me how this country will get out of debt for the good of all americans. So far neither candidate has proposed anything that I'm satisfied with it is all negative campaign adds that, have little or no truth to them. I say vote for yourself and send a real message to Washington.

    August 5, 2012 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  20. President Obama is the ONLY ADULT in Washington D.C.

    It really seems that way. Truly. Dems and GOPers are hypocrites, the lot of 'em. Nevertheless, the Republicans ("and Tea Party") have been obstructing for 4 years based on some seemingly arbitrary and petty pledge to Grover Norquist about not taxing the rich. Thus there is no compromise, because if you won't raise more revenue, then you have to have all cuts to spending. That notion however doesn't align with the need today for even stronger social safety nets that Dems try to build, because fraud within the financial system is so pervasive that the fallout create more people that need help. So the obstruction by politicians leads us to where??? To the point where they set up their own punishment should they not successfully compromise in the future. The future is now, and they want to avoid the very punishment they set up?!?! Is this crazy land that we live in?!? Seriously: what kind of B.S. is this?

    Am I to presume now that the "punishment" was a public-relations stunt to convince voters in the short-term last year that politicians actually hold themselves accountable? I think that is a reasonable presumption. Politicians and the system are counting on voters to have no knowledge of the B.S. or no memory of the B.S.

    Obama–being the only adult in the room–is calling them out on their "political games" played at the expense and cost of taxpayers and voters.

    August 5, 2012 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  21. Darryl

    It is going to be so much fun when the World Stage is set and the 1st Debt is on. We see who the Mitt is all about right then and there. So will the world. I'm looking so forward to it.

    August 5, 2012 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  22. CBR

    Good for Senator Graham. He knows that Congress did not do the correct thing and we will all pay for it now. The continued practice of passing legislation which is not funded will continue to raise the deficit. Does anyone remember that we did not fund the war against Afghanistan and Iraq and look which put us deep in debt. The Republicans would be wise to state the truth. Mistakes were made, even by Republicans.

    August 5, 2012 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  23. Green Libertarian

    So says the senior politican (who knows politicians can't be fired, because they will be replaced with other politicians):

    "'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."

    Insanity is repeating the same mistakes and expecting different results. To believe anything Graham says is to be insane.

    August 5, 2012 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  24. FlotsamJetsam

    The impasse at the super committee was not so super. The sequestration was supposed to be the bitter pill that neither side wanted to reach. It is laughable now that the Republicans are painting this as this was the Presidents plan all along. The Democrats did step off their position of not giving up any ground on spending, but it is the Republicans that won't give an inch on increasing taxes. They are the ones not willing to compromise and caused this big mess which they decry and attempt to pass off as not their fault. Tea Party go HOME!

    August 5, 2012 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  25. kerberusII@aol.com

    sooner or later the gordian knot of american government will be sliced and a new ozymandias revealed.

    August 5, 2012 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
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