February 17th, 2013
11:27 AM ET
2 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. Bob

    The GOP better be very careful what it wishes for. If this sequester happens and the economy falls back into recession, guess who the public is going to blame? Not President Obama. His administration may have come up with the sequester as a means to get the Republicans to compromise, but the public knows who to blame for bull-headedness if these cuts go through without a vote on a plan to avoid them. The voters already punished the GOP in this last election because of their lack of compromise and cooperation, and they will do so again. This time will far more severe results. Don't mess with us GOP!

    February 17, 2013 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  2. Sam

    "" 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."" The Republicans created this sequester to get back at Obama and they will do anything to make sure no plan to avert it can happen. This is the mission of the Republicans since 2008. Defeat Obama and the Nation, no matter what. The Republicans will take down this nation. They are blocking everything Obama is trying to accomplish and filibustering his nominations for the Security of this Nation. McCain, Graham, Boehner and McConnell will do everything to make sure this nation does NOT recover from the EVIL ACTS of G. Bush. They backed Bush, and McCain and Graham, still believe in the 2 wars and even want Obama to start new wars. The old, senile Senators, that live in the past, just cannot see the USA with a good economy, lots of jobs.

    February 17, 2013 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  3. Gopsaurs

    "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." Why does that sound like an ultimatum?

    February 17, 2013 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  4. Richard Chumbley

    And in response to 111Dave111 and other Democrats....and I quote from Nathaniel Grigsby, Attica, KS 1890:

    "....I wish to enter my dying protest against what is called the Democratic party. I have watched it closely since the days of Jackson" (that is Andrew Jackson) " and know that all the misfortunes of our nation has come to it through this so called party, therefore beware of this party of treason."

    And I agree, the Democratic party today are self-centered, self righteous nits that need to be unemployed along with the 7.8% of the nation they put in the unemployment lines.....Congress in it's infancy were uncompensated servants of "We the People;" we need to go back to those times, where the US people were truly represented in Congress by their elected officials !

    February 17, 2013 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  5. dd

    Obama wanted sequester, so give it to him. If unemployment shoots up – IT IS OBAMA and his DEMOCRATS who have failed to produce a budget in four years. Let the Democrats hang themselves before the American Spring runs them out of the country seeking asylum!

    February 17, 2013 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  6. john wright

    Sequester was Obama's idea morons!

    February 17, 2013 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  7. Rob

    Politicians – Republicans and Democrats alike – have proven themselves INCAPABLE of cutting spending. So perhaps this is the only way.

    February 17, 2013 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  8. Namejanek

    This is the beginning of the end for Obama and Dem. Obama came up with this idea and now it will bite him an the Dem m0r0ns in the Senate.

    February 17, 2013 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  9. cleareye1

    We have to get used to the fact that the Republicans will sacrifice all of us in their desperate attempt to harm Obama in any way they can, The last election proved they are becoming irrelevant at a rapid pace as this country grows more progressive on all matters. These are their death throws.

    February 17, 2013 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  10. aroomadazda

    Something I rarely see mentioned in the sequestration debate is this; the sequester cuts are actually cuts in the increase in spending, not cuts to a lower level than they are now.

    February 17, 2013 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  11. bill

    Suggest the first cuts: Eliminate staff for House and Senate members; Remove all but one TSA inspector at National airport so the lines are hours long; No paid travel for congress members; reduce civilian personnel at military bases of Republican house members.

    February 17, 2013 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  12. Nate

    Political compromise is a two way street. Just because the president was reelected does not mean that the Democratic Party does not have to deal with the Repuplican Party. What goes around comes around Mr. Obama!

    February 17, 2013 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  13. AV912

    Sally27 – get your facts straight. Hillary Clinton was a NY senator and Secretary of State. She was never, never Speaker of the House. And I also suggest you stop listening to biased media because obviously you have the wrong information.

    February 17, 2013 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  14. bear

    There are no cuts in sequester. Just reductions in the increases. The idea that there is no way to take $85 billion out of the $3.5 trillion in spending just shows how incompetent all the politicians are starting with Obama and ending with Boehner.

    February 17, 2013 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  15. Belvarie Varnado

    Obama wanted it because he thought he had the Republicans over the barrel and they would give in and do something. They haven't and I don't think they should It is all just a game to Obama that he always wants to win no mater what the cost to America or Americans. I hate to see the military cut but so be it. Obama got the tax deal he wanted and now he doesn't want to do any cuts in spending.

    February 17, 2013 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  16. Bob

    Republicans will go down fighting to demmonstrate their complete contempt for Obama and those who voted for him, and in the process, take the country down with them. The GOP remains the party of straight,white, right-wing, ultra-conservative men. Fortuantely, they are becoming more and more of a minority.

    February 17, 2013 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  17. GOP= Greed Over People (Party)

    Gop at it again

    February 17, 2013 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  18. fghfghf

    Sequestration? Who cares, a measly 100 billion a year compared to the current budget(over 3200 billion) is nothing, its only like 3%. And budget, ha, they haven't passed a budget in over 4 years now. And then there is the little issue of spending money without paying for it. Every item on a 'budget' should have a way to pay for said item. This practice of kicking the can down the road is what got us in the current mess in the first place.

    Anyone who thinks the GOP is the problem, or the democrats are the problem, are morons. Its not either or, its BOTH. The problem is our system of corruption that allows these dirtbags to do nothing but pander to special interests.

    If you want things to change, STOP VOTING IN THE SAME PEOPLE OVER AND OVER! The only chance we have is to not reelect a single congressman/woman. New blood might not change a thing, but reelecting the same dirt bags over and over certainly never will.

    Its really sad. Whenever they poll to see if congress is doing a good job or not, their numbers are always bad. And yet you fools keep voting for the same people. Why do you reelect people who you think aren't doing a good job? I know i know its always the other guys fault, its never your guys fault. A good leader can get both sides to work together for the common good. If a leader fails to get both sides to work together, by definition they are not a good leader. 20 years of failure is enough to show none of these dirt bags are good leaders, none of them deserve their jobs.

    Time to clean the slate.

    February 17, 2013 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  19. Steve S

    After losing TWO Presidential elections to Obama, the GOP is still amazingly obsessed with sinking his Presidency.

    February 17, 2013 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  20. Alina77

    Yep GOP, lets make this country completely anemic and growth- less..

    February 17, 2013 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  21. Craig

    Cross the board cuts are the proor way to manage. It is not doing responsible thing
    it assumes all problems are equal. IN FACT IS IS NOT MANAGING OR LEADING
    it is just taking the mathematical way out. ANd is irresponsible yet DEMS and REPS
    are really good at being irresponsible and NOT orintated to the AMERICAN PEOPLE.

    REcall all the bums and elect some not bought and paid for politicians.

    February 17, 2013 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  22. jaron kadek

    O No. It's the Sequester Cliff.

    February 17, 2013 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  23. roro

    Although the Republicans lost big in the last election cycle, they never got the message from the citizens. Yes, they've changed some of their rhetoric BUT NOT THEIR POLICIES. And they think we're stupid enough not to realize this. The hispanics, the women, and anyone with half a brain who can read and make up their own minds know this to be a fact. If all you're doing is listening to bloviated radio and TV personalities, who are just overpaid entertainers, then you don't really know what the heck you're talking about. Educate yourselves before making ridiculous, frivolous, and rash statements.

    February 17, 2013 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  24. dhall

    Throwing wrenches into the gears won't solve one thing. Being as stubborn as the day is long doesn't solve anything. Scaring people with talk about a fiscal "cliff" didn't sovle anything. A sequester won't solve anything. Have I left anything out? Oh, and being politically stupid won't solve anything. It's time to actually put sensible ideas into play, and make headway. That means tightening the fisal belt a notch or two, and raise taxes a tiny fraction, instead of radically. Most Americans are aware of it, but we can't seem to be able to head off in the right direction. Our leaders are 100% to blame.

    February 17, 2013 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  25. Clocker

    Sally, Hilary was never Speaker of the House. Hard to do when you're in the Senate,,LOL. You're a typical low information GOP voter. I hope they keep it up. They're not getting the message that was sent in Nov. 2014 is going to see the Dems regain control of the House.

    February 17, 2013 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
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