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. HowardP

    The Republicans seem to forget that they represent ALL the people in their state, Republicans and Democrats alike, not just the ones that elected them. It seems that they forget about the ones that voted against them. It is time that we vote all of them out of office and get officials that represent ALL people, not just the ones that voted them into office.

    February 17, 2013 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  2. farcier

    Just three months ago, taxes were raised on countless small business and individuals making more than 450,000 dollars per year. They are now paying 39.5% of income tax. Half of country don't pay any taxes. Affordable health care tax sets in, payroll taxes expire and marginal tax rate goes up for 77% of Americans earning income. The wealthy are already paying 39.5%income tax+state tax+health care tax. Even if you take all money from wealthy people, it hardly will make any difference to deficit. Sequestration was President Obama's idea and he can not run away from that. There is no room to raise more taxes but to cut spending. I wish the media was honest in this debate.

    February 17, 2013 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  3. jg

    Obama is a shrewd politician. When he allowed the "fiscal cliff" to be put in place he knew that the GOP would never be reasonable and would never accept a balanced approach.
    Therefore when the fiscal cliff happens, MASSIVE spending cuts to the military will happen (YAY!), and ALL the blame will go to the GOP for failing to compromise for four consecutive years.

    Then 2014 will see a Tea-Part House-cleaning as a retaliation for throwing the US off of the fiscal cliff.

    This was the Obama plan all along. FORCE the GOP to be reasonable, which they are not very good at, or force them to self destruct, leading to a 16-year Obama/Clinton run and a New New Deal that will see the US in to another 50 years of prosperity.

    Pretty smart if you ask me.

    February 17, 2013 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  4. steve

    2014 is just around the corner for Congressional Republicans. Bye bye.

    February 17, 2013 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  5. Nomadish

    So now we have another GOP Senator that's not willing to negotiate. It seems all these guys know to do is draw a line in the sand and dare anyone to cross it. I think I used to play a game called Red Rover, Red Rover, Come On Over and then someone on one side would try to break through the other sides line. Like I said that was when I was a kid and these so called Congressmen are still playing the same game. I get so tired of the these guys being elected and paid for doing nothing but blaming each other. It's too bad we can't fire them for incompetence. I agree with someone's comment about if an employee can't function then they should be fired.

    February 17, 2013 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  6. jpmichigan

    The SEQUESTER is a product of the White House , Jack Lew and Harry Reid gave his blessing to it, now they all are CRYING FOUL and blaming the Republicans. It is time the REAL truth be known!!

    February 17, 2013 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  7. Jack33

    The GOP are going to end up extinct. The USA has the worst social services/public funding in the first world, extremely low taxation, the most extreme class-gap, with a tiny group of people already holding 13 trillion dollars of the 14 trillion GDP, and these clowns want to make the situation even worse for average people?

    You can be certain I wont be voting republican next election.

    February 17, 2013 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  8. rs

    The GOP is such a mess. We know from events in Europe, that cutting government spending not only slows economic recovery, it takes those nations back into recession. So what does the GOP do? Pass the Sequester bill, and then refuse to dis-arm their own ticking time-bomb ensuring that once again our economy may crash, and the poor and middle class will suffer again. Don't worry folks, the rich will be fine!
    We ought not be surprised, they are terrorists after all- economic ones in this case. We ought to treat them as such.

    February 17, 2013 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  9. SOS

    The cuts should happen. If the poor people of this country are going to starve then let them starve. They had ample time to not be poor. But the welfare attitude has to stop and this president has to leave. Oh wait you elected him so you deserve to starve too.

    February 17, 2013 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  10. rs

    jpm-
    You have no clue! Boehner is the father of the sequester- you guys own this one-AGAIN!

    February 17, 2013 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  11. waycoolerthanyou

    How did we get here? Republiscum cut's to regulation on wallstreet after a blowjob that clinton got. The bloodis on their hand's when it all tip's over

    February 17, 2013 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    I want cuts. The military spending is disgusting. We spend more on "defense" than the entire rest of the world combined. ENOUGH!!!

    February 17, 2013 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  13. vic , nashville ,tn

    Obama is setting trap GOP is walking towards the trap ,
    In 2011 John Boehner said this “I got 98 percent of what I wanted. I'm pretty happy”
    If economy goes down voters will blame GOP they voted for sequester twice

    February 17, 2013 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  14. eamon mccaffery

    The senators definition of the American people is the one percent

    February 17, 2013 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  15. Gene

    All right. I've changed my mind after all. Let's go ahead and implement the cuts the Republicans demand. I now say the sooner, the better. Then they can quit their complaining and should be quiet for at least a few days. I then can simply sit back and wait for the 2014 and 2016 elections when the voters will get their chance to evaluate how they feel about feeling the impact of the cuts. My gut tells me that after those elections we will then only have one political party in this country.If that's the case, so be it

    February 17, 2013 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  16. SOS

    "The GOP is going to end up extinct"...and so will the liberals because who is going to feed you? Without the GOP you welfare lovers won't have food to eat.

    February 17, 2013 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  17. Harry From Pa

    I'm tired of the GOP, do you freaking jobs. They are talking about the fed gov taking a hit, and furloughs happening, but congress' checks are fine, heck they might even vote themselves another pay raise. This is crap, I mean if you think about it, they are getting what they want, cuts across the government. Well if it goes through, election year is in 2 more years for some.

    February 17, 2013 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  18. Tammy Lozano

    Its obvious that certain Republicans must sink our economy so that they can say I told you so and hopfully hold on in mid term, its all political and its all about making the current admin look bad so thay can gain control again. John McCain and Lindsay Graham are childlike in this power play as are several other GOP senators. I hope the media takes them down.

    February 17, 2013 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  19. Enough!

    The teapublicans should be arrested for Treason against the Country.

    February 17, 2013 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  20. md22mdrx

    farcier
    What do you mean the media isn't honest in this debate. They fully disclose that this was an idea floated by Obama and agreed upon by Congress .... BOTH sides of the aisle. Obama has said he doesn't actually want it to happen and has worked toward avoiding it. Dems have put forth plans to avoid it. Republican response? Let's go on break for 2 weeks to create a "cliff" situation and bolster their position politically. Now, it looks as if republicans are now in SUPPORT of the sequester that they threw such a hissy over last year!!!! Know why? They're trying to put it ALL on Obama for political gain. They are so delusional that they don't realize the American people aren't going to blame Obama for this .... they'll blame REPUBLICANS. And now ... republicans are on record for WANTING the sequester.
    Personally, I would rather see the sequester go through .... though it would be damaging politically for both parties.

    February 17, 2013 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  21. DC1973

    jpmichigan – You might want to look up the videos of the GOP senators and representatives who sang the sequester's praises and begged people to vote for it. It's a product of both parties, but only one has repeatedly refused to fix it while screaming from the rooftops about how bad it is.

    February 17, 2013 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  22. ItSoNlYmE

    "GOP senator: Sequester is going to happen" – and the people will remember why. And why rhymes with "Republicans".

    February 17, 2013 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  23. Shawn

    The Social Security Age hsould have been raised to 75 long ago, as well as Medicare eligibility. Personal responsibility is planning for your own retirement. Better yet, put a date for its end. I'm 33, and in no way do I expect the federal government to provide for my retirement 35 years from now. I was born dirt poor, served in the mlitary to get my education and am now successful. You want it? Go earn it. Stop expecting it to be handed to you, stop expecting the federal government to provide for you.

    February 17, 2013 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  24. rs

    farcier-

    And what you don't realize is that those tax rates on the richest Americans are still less THAN HALF what they were under President Eisenhower in the 1950s. We still have the lowest tax rates in a generation- and thanks to the GOP the greatest distance and difference ever between rich and poor ever in American history.

    Vote Republican, and you vote against yourself.

    February 17, 2013 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  25. jimtwest3

    When the dust settles, the Republican Party would have committed political suicide by damaging the nation's economy and costing thousands of peole their jobs. Poll after poll have shown the public views the Republicans responsible for the majority of the gridlock in Washington. Congress approval rating is single digits. The only reason the Republicans have a majority in Congress is due to gerrymandering. After enough Republicans voters lose their jobs and are hurt by the actions of the Republican Congress, not even registered Republicans will vote for a Republican Candidate. Today's Republican Party is Republican in name only. Not even Ronald Regan could win a Republican Primary today. President Obama has given the Republicans enough rope to hang themselves and they about to succeed in hanging themselves with their own rope.

    February 17, 2013 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
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