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. Mike

    The government is so inept and disruptive to the economic well being of the country that the only way to stop it is to starve it. Let the government cuts begin!! Only then will the country start to recover from such a mess. And for all of you out there blaming one side or the other; you are either intellectually dishonest or simply ignorant.

    February 17, 2013 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  2. Clueless Congressmen

    My question is when are we going to start laying of our congressmen. In most organizations if we have such incompetent employees they would have be fired long ago. Their lack of concern for the good of the country is starting to cause extensive lay-offs in the DC area due to Government initiating Stop Work orders and furlonging of government employees. I have spent the last two weeks working our government clients to determine impact and who I will have to lay off with my company. Hopefully, we can keep our company afloat.. many small business contracts may face folding up stop due to the bozo's on the hill.

    February 17, 2013 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  3. Bubba

    I missed the part where GOP said they the Dems plan on raising taxes. The proposal said closing loopholes and removing subsidies.

    The GOP is against all govt subsidies unless its for their programs. Got it.

    "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."

    February 17, 2013 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  4. wade

    Of course it will happen. That was the Obama plan all along. It was Obama;s Idea and he is gutless to cut spending any other way.

    February 17, 2013 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  5. Seth Hill

    We need to cut Military, Social Security, and Medicare by 25%. That will hurt millions of Americans; some will even die. And I'm a liberal! The trouble is, when you're out of money, that means you don't have any more money.
    That's my suggestion. What do you propose?

    February 17, 2013 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  6. Guido

    The US is not going to be attacked by another country if the cuts go through, unless that country is from outerspace. We already spends 58% of the total military spending in the world, 6 times what China spends. What will happen to the military is that at some point some programs will be trimmed. All the Repubicans are doing is trying to make sure that their friends in the military industrial complex don't see any loss in profits.

    February 17, 2013 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  7. jm3

    Calm down people 1.2 trillion over 10 years equals 100 million a year. Not a big deal. We give that away to other countries in aid. These POLS are nothing but crooks and liars. They play on the fears of people like you. Just DO the math and open your eyes

    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.

    February 17, 2013 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  8. md22mdrx

    Cut pentagon spending drastically? YES PLEASE!!!!

    The #1 source of FW&A in government isn't "entitlement programs", it's military spending.

    February 17, 2013 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  9. Richard

    I am sorry, I blame both parties for not coming up with a budget. Let it happen, it was put off for over a year and nothing was done, now they are scrabbling, sorry.
    It happening will not change the way I vote, I am neither republican or democrat, I will listen to their platforms, rate it against what they have done in the past and vote for who I think is best.

    February 17, 2013 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  10. Skeptacular

    Those who say the Republicans are only thinking of themselves, and those who say the Sequester is the right thing to do are both wrong, damagingly wrong. The Republicans aren't thinking of themselves. They aren't thinking at all. Their solution invokes Bush saying "Bring it on." It reminds me of the sort of "just bomb the whole country into dust" solutions rendered by high school students just beginning to perceive the larger world. It is tantamount to advising the victim shot with an arrow that standing on their chest and yanking the arrow straight out the way it entered is the only solution. The Sequester is both harmful first aid and unworthy of any thinking adult.

    February 17, 2013 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  11. Eli

    Typical politics. The democrats offer up a reasonable, balanced sollution, and the republicans would rather destroy America than – god forbid- vote for an idea that the democrats came up with.

    February 17, 2013 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  12. Grace

    once again the Republican demands are crazy. It's like some medicines that cure certain diseases have a tiny bit of arsenic in them but more than that can be a lethal dose.. These fools that are for letting sequester happen will be applying a lethal dose to the economy and our national security. All citizens should take note of what their representatives are proposing.

    February 17, 2013 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  13. md22mdrx

    Seth Hill,

    Social Security doesn't need to be cut. It needs to be bolstered and protected from the thieves in Congress.

    February 17, 2013 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  14. Randy, San Francisco

    After decades of flag waving and patriotic drum beating,the Republican brand is showing true colors. They rather see this country go down the tubes than see a successful Obama presidency. The Republican brand is forever tainted by Tea Party and conservative fiscal extremism.

    February 17, 2013 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  15. edwardwolfe

    I love this quote, particularly how it suggests that "the Republican Party" is dictating to "the American people" how things are going to be. It shows how arrogant and out-of-touch the Republican leadership really is.

    "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."

    February 17, 2013 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  16. MENTALLECT

    When the GOP were cheerleading the multi-trillion dollar Iraq invasion, they should have thought about the day payment would come due.

    February 17, 2013 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  17. Alpha Deus

    Once again we prove that the republicans racism trumps their giving a damn about the country...it proves they were never going to close loopholes if mitt Romney had won, it was all a smoke screen to dupe people into voting for them...they were going to keep the foot on the gas, suck up lobby group payments and let America burn like a hot coal while they stashed their money to avoid any taxes

    February 17, 2013 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  18. JAS

    The gop will let this country go to hell in a handbag, as long as the Dems don't get what they are trying to do. I don't support either party, but the gop has really became a thorn in the side of the USA and it is about time they were sent this message. Vote them out completely in 2014.

    February 17, 2013 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  19. fekt

    They want the sequester to happen. A day after it kicks in they're going to propose emergency budget measures to cover the military cuts claiming we need them or we're not safe. If the democrats don't get on board with it they're not patriots they're putting us at risk. They'll put through the same budget they had before for the military only. The rest they claim will need to be debated. Of course, the rest is the stuff the democrats offered up on the deal that they wanted cut anyway. The debate will basically be we aren't going to add to these programs they got cut it's your fault nyah nyah nyah. They've been planning on this since day one.

    February 17, 2013 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  20. Don

    Our President has led us out of the depths of financial disaster and yet, the GOP wants to create havoc with the economy in an attempt to bolster their position. The GOP certainly appears bent on doing anything possible to delay full economic recovery until the next election. The confidence of Americans is finally rising, they are investing in real estate and the markets. I sincerely hope that the moderates in the GOP will support preventing this "GOP" created crisis and support alternatives to avoid another financial self created disaster.

    February 17, 2013 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  21. YouDontKnowMe

    The thing missing from these discussions is that the President and the Democrats are the ones who proposed this ridiculous plan for sequestration when they wanted to borrow more money. They said that they would be willing to take these significant cuts if the Repubs were willing to increase the debt ceiling (and yes, i know i am over simplifying it). Now, it is time to pay, and the Dems are blaming the Repubs for this mess. Politics at its finest...and a majority of Americans don't seem to understand. We're destined to continue to face these issues as we kick the can, so to speak, on these issues. At some point in time, we are going to have to swallow some bad medicine...the Repubs want to do it now, and the Dems want someone else to do it later...who is right? Guess it depends on what side of the aisle you are on...

    February 17, 2013 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  22. Mike

    Thank you GOP, for giving us another reason to vote you out of office in 2016

    February 17, 2013 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  23. Tom

    Republicans want to "pull the plug on grandma!"

    February 17, 2013 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  24. Independent Thinker

    I would still like to know how cutting off subsidies to the oil and gas companies is a tax hike. They make millions off the products they sell and we are still subsidizing them, let's close that little loophole. I would also like to know how facebook, who made billions last year, is paying no tax and getting a refund of $429 million, someone plese explain that to me.

    February 17, 2013 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  25. AB

    I'm sorry but id rather have my tax money go towards defense then have it givin to some lazy ass democrat who is on welfare, doesn't work,uses food stamps for smokes and drives off in a escalade

    February 17, 2013 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
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