February 17th, 2013
11:27 AM ET
7 years ago

GOP senator: Sequester is going to happen

(CNN) – Republican Sen. John Barrasso said Sunday the country should be prepared for the sequester and its massive spending cuts to kick in next month, despite Democrats' proposal last week to avert it.

"Let me be very clear - and I'd say this to the president as I say it to you - these spending cuts are going to go through on March 1," the senator from Wyoming said on CNN's "State of the Union."

The across-the-board cuts aimed to reduce the deficit by $1.2 trillion over the next decade were supposed to be triggered at the beginning of the year. In the scaled-back fiscal cliff bill, however, Congress managed to postpone the cuts by two months.

With less than two weeks to go, lawmakers face another countdown before the largely dreaded cuts are scheduled to begin. Senate Democrats on Thursday proposed a $110 billion measure to once again delay the cuts.

Democrats want to replace the budget cuts, which Pentagon officials say will have drastic effects on the military, with a combination of increased tax revenue from millionaires through the closing of loopholes, ending agriculture subsidies, and reducing defense spending after the war in Afghanistan ends.

But Barrasso, along with other Republicans in the Senate, was not so pleased with the proposal, especially the provision dealing with tax revenue.

"Taxes are off the table," he told CNN's chief political correspondent Candy Crowley. "The American people need to know tax cuts are off the table and the Republican Party is not in any way going to trade spending cuts for a tax increase."
The senator said there are "much better ways to do these budget cuts," though he did not mention specific proposals.

President Barack Obama vowed during his re-election campaign that the sequester will not happen, and he called on Congress earlier this month to pass a short-term measure to put off the cuts.

But when his chief of staff, Denis McDonough, was questioned about it Sunday morning, McDonough sounded less certain the sequester would be prevented.

"I sure hope it doesn't (happen)," he said on NBC's "Meet the Press."

To "ensure" the cuts don't take place, McDonough said, the president "will continue to make very reasonable and balanced proposals, as he has time and time again."

Meanwhile, Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York sounded optimistic about the issue.
"I think that Democrats have the high ground both substantively and politically and we will win on this issue," he said on "State of the Union."

He argued Republicans have no choice but to "come on board."

"Their arguments are untenable and don't meet the favor of hardly anyone other than themselves and the few whose special interests they're protecting," he added.

- CNN's Ted Barrett and Tom Cohen contributed to this report.

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

Filed under: Budget • Debt • Deficit • John Barrasso • TV-State of the Union
soundoff (254 Responses)
  1. Rick in AZ

    Someone, anyone please explain to me what the Republicans want. For 4 years they have been complaining that the President is a profligate spender and needs to cut cut cut spending. Now they are BLAMING the cuts on him. Throughout the late Presidential election cycle they claimed the President cut $710B out of Medicare. No matter what the President does they will be against it.

    February 17, 2013 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  2. rs

    Bub-bye GOP, thanks for playing.

    February 17, 2013 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  3. MarcusMACV

    Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower had a top tax rate of 91% on Millionaires and Billionaires. Further when his fellow republicans in congress begged him to lower taxes on the wealthy, he responded ... "We cannot afford to reduce taxes and reduce income until we have in sight a program of expenditure that shows that the factors of income and outgo will be balanced." Eisenhower had a "Balanced Budget" during his administration!!!

    Oh, he also stated ... "beware the military industrial complex". And that's how the defense budget became so bloated ... WE DIDN'T LISTEN! Our military spending is six times larger than that of China. Russia’s share of worldwide military spending is less than the United Kingdom’s and equal to that of France. We could afford to make serious cuts in our defense budget without threatening our own security. Here are the top military spending countries in the world:
    1. United States
    2. China
    3. United Kingdom
    4. Russia
    5. France

    We can cut our military spending IN HALF and still spend 3 times more on defense than number two China. I guess that's why they own the paper on the United States and can call in their "notes" anytime they get ready to.

    February 17, 2013 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  4. pallen210

    Did the Republican Party sleep thru their basic economic classes????/ YOU NEVER CUT GOVT SPENDING DURING A RECESSION. THey will drive us deeper into a depression.

    February 17, 2013 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  5. Geofredo

    Just let them happen. This Kool-Aid that cutting government spending ends the world has to stop. We're broke.

    February 17, 2013 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  6. Tk

    This is simple. We need to cut spending. Increasing taxes and add Moore spendingr does not work. We can not raise enough in taxes to put a dent in the deficit. Everyone knows tha we must cut spending. Let the automatic spending cuts happen. It isthe right thing to do.

    February 17, 2013 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  7. steven

    This story is just too stupid to not be true. This country is about to jump down the rabbit hole.

    February 17, 2013 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  8. jnpa

    The GOP is playing politics again. The Dems are offering solutions, but I don't see the repubs doing anything except saying "NO" and blaming the President like they usually do.

    February 17, 2013 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  9. dreamer96

    The GOP are going to repeat themselves.....Just like after the US credit rating was down graded...They will all form a line and Chant for the down fall of America.....

    February 17, 2013 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  10. Kevin

    Once again this is just showing that the GOP is the party that only thinks of themselves. The economy is finally showing signs of coming around but to make sure that it does not happen they are going to let the sequester go through with MASSIVE spending cuts taking effect on March 1st. That will pretty much wipe away any gains that the economy has seen and put us right back into a recession. They just don't want the Democrats to get credit for fixing the economy. Hang on to your hats folks it is going to be a bumpy ride.

    February 17, 2013 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  11. Jake

    I am hope they end all the FEDERAL Funds that flow into Wyoming. Sen. John Barrasso and the other Republicans will be driven from office with a cat of nine tails.

    February 17, 2013 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  12. Roger

    Republicans don't care about what the average American wants. They only care about what Grover Norquist wants.

    February 17, 2013 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  13. rs


    As a fellow Arizonan, you know a couple of things based upon our own state's GOP activity:
    1. They only legislate what ALEC gives them (occasionally failing to change the "insert star here" language)
    2. There is no rhyme or reason- their bills are all reactionary, and without fact or logic
    3. These are deeply delusional and sick individuals who have perverted leadership to "Party-First" with no real concern for the citizens they actually represent

    I appreciate your posts.

    February 17, 2013 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  14. Swan_50

    I am thinking this is a good thing. Spending has to come down and the Congress is too gutless to do it surgically. The sequester lets these spinless PR driven pigs sort of shrug their shoulders and blame it on someone else. Sort of a new form of BRACC. I just want to know when all the charter plane carrying these entitled people get grounded. Bet you a fair amount of programs could be saved if we forced the Congress and federal agencies to fly commercial. Might even improve commercial flying.

    February 17, 2013 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  15. labman57

    The GOP made a huge gamble by embracing the often naive, frequently irrational, usually hyperbolic rhetoric of the tea party pundits and by declaring their allegiance to Grover Norquist and his quest to undermine the fiscal viability of the federal government.
    For the past few years, delusional tea party pundits have been behaving like a deranged, estranged spouse who - rather than lose the house, investments, and parental control of the kids in a divorce settlement - decides to burn down the house with the spouse and kids inside.

    The Republican Party leadership stood at a political precipice during the debt talks, contemplating whether to back away slowly, oblivious of the mindless tea party stampede heading straight toward them that threatened to send the entire party over the cliff.

    February 17, 2013 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  16. Robert

    Each time the GOP (accent on the "O") speaks out against closing tax loopholes and any slight raise in taxes on the rich, they are telling us, "Our true constituents, those rich enough to pour millions into our political campaigns, have commanded us to fight against anything that might prevent them from buying another yatch."

    February 17, 2013 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  17. WG

    All republicans care about are TAX BREAKS FOR THE RICH.. That's it.. They don't care about deficits, military, social programs and et al.. Just TAX BREAKS FOR THE RICH.. That's it... Nothing else...

    February 17, 2013 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  18. T

    .....USA spends on Defense what the NEXT 16 1/2 COUNTRIES DO..............COMBINED.............. We have 120 FORGIEN BASES, and spend 10 TIMES what China does, the #2 spending country.

    February 17, 2013 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  19. Dawn Castle

    Who is going to reap the consequences of this action? The gop thinks their power play will strengthen their position and rather than listen to the message the people have been sending them, they choose to ignore it. They have been vociferous in their obstruction of doing their jobs and the country's business.

    February 17, 2013 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  20. Yeoomala

    The robots drinking the koolaid are bound and determined to take this country down. I can only hope that the people kick you out on the street in the next election.

    February 17, 2013 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  21. Rick

    Cutting spending when the economy is on the brink of coming back is foolish. The time to cut the deficit was when Bush 2 was in office. But noooooo, the GOP were ALL for spending like crazy then. 2 unfunded wars and mega tax cuts for the rich. These guys don't care at all about spending, their history has proven that, they just are trying to find things to oppose the black guy on.

    February 17, 2013 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  22. ST

    Keep on digging your own hole republicans, it hasn't gone deeper enough. You are doing a very good job and you will be rewarded for it.

    February 17, 2013 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  23. HenryB

    Bring it on GOP, bring it on. Let the chips fall where they may. No proposals the GOP brings, just their obstinate self.

    February 17, 2013 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  24. CC

    back off u piece of liberals, enough taxing, republicans keep fighting for what we built with our own hands, I know once REPU take the white house EVERYTHING WILL BE UNDO

    February 17, 2013 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  25. sbreezy

    hey ive got a great idea – why dont we just completely shut down the federal government until 2014. im all for it. there should be enough in the coffers to pay for existing military deployments and social security checks. give everybody two years of zero taxes. it would be worth it so as we wont have to hear lindsey graham crying for two years straight!

    February 17, 2013 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
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