February 17th, 2013
11:27 AM ET
1 year 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. Ron

    Sequester should take place ! IT WAS BARRACKS IDEA !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1111111111

    February 17, 2013 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  2. sally27

    if the democrats are voted back in and Hillary is speaker of the House again . Kiss all of your freedoms good-bye! it's not a matter of Republicans or democrats. do you want the Constitution or not ?Your vote will determine this so don't be stupid do your due diligence and be smart. Stop listening to the left wing media who do not report both sides !

    February 17, 2013 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  3. dc

    HowardP –

    "The Republicans seem to forget that they represent ALL the people in their state, Republicans and Democrats alike,"
    I think that would be a good rule for the PRESIDENT to follow, also.

    February 17, 2013 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  4. rs

    Jack33
    The GOP are going to end up extinct.
    _______________
    From your lips to God's ear!

    February 17, 2013 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  5. Ricke1949

    Balance the budget. Pass a budget. Grow up

    February 17, 2013 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  6. Anthony

    Well, over 70% of House Republicans and almost 60% of Senate Republicans voted for it, so why are Republicans complaining? As for taxes, nothing is off the table. If taxes are off the table because Democrats agreed to the fiscal cliff deal, spending cuts are off the table because Republicans agreed to the fiscal cliff deal. So what if there were no spending cuts in the fiscal cliff deal? Republicans agreed to spending cuts of zero, so they have to live with it. If Republicans want to argue that they have not actually agreed to spending cuts of zero, Democrats have not actually agreed that there won't be other taxes.

    February 17, 2013 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  7. What a Crock

    Funny that Dems rallied promoting Defense spending cuts for years....but now they are a bad idea. Wanna guess why the change in heart? BTW, not spending money that you would have borrowed anyways is not a spending cut. So claiming we will not borrow for war efforts and is in effect a spending cut is a joke...

    February 17, 2013 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  8. Anonymous

    I think that the sequester should start with the suspension of all salaries paid to members of the house, the senate, and the president.

    February 17, 2013 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  9. Lewis

    I think that the sequester should start with the suspension of all pay for members of the house, the senate and the president.

    February 17, 2013 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  10. Pogojo

    This is what the country needs, cuts to military, and cuts to all the handouts ( yay)

    February 17, 2013 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  11. Grim Reaper

    Let the cutting begin. Cut it across the board.

    February 17, 2013 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  12. MAC

    They need to happen since it is the only way t get spending cuts from the President and his democratic party. Almost 17 trillion dollars in debt is out control.

    February 17, 2013 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  13. Skarphace

    farcier: "Half of country don't pay any taxes."

    I don't know why so many of you continue to spout this Fox News nonsense. Nearly everybody pays taxes, in one form or another, be it state and local taxes, sales taxes, gasoline/beer/cigarette taxes, property taxes, etc.

    The only tax that only half the country are paying are payroll taxes, and guess what? That is because only half of the country is currently employed. Of those, the vast majority are retired and therefore already payed their share of income taxes.

    So please, do some of your own research and come up with your own facts and opinions for once.

    February 17, 2013 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  14. JohnRJohnson

    And, once again, the Republicans in Congress take a proud stand that will back-fire on them in 2014. The 'do nothing' obstructionists in Congress should all be thrown out.

    BY THE WAY, the "sequester" was suggested by the White House as a way to make GOP members of Congress feel more confident that Democrats would agree to spending cuts in a debt reduction deal in the Super Committee. It was a way to "guarantee" that cuts would be made in order to avoid even more draconian cuts in sequestration. The GOP embraced that "guarantee" and have now decided to continue to do nothing, even though the sequestration will do great damage to the economy. The fact that the sequester was first suggested by the White House is totally irrelevant, and this bird-brained congressman knows it.

    February 17, 2013 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  15. Organic1

    All I can say is 2014 is going to be very ugly for the GOP...

    February 17, 2013 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  16. dblogger

    There is no one to defend the defense dept. Hagel's nomination is blocked. Panetta out, though he tried to speak out few days before leaving. Petraeus didn't help either. Republicans can save only one kid, choose between rich or defense.

    February 17, 2013 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  17. Rusticus

    Here's where it all starts to fall apart. In-fighting and tomfoolery that make us a de-facto tin pot government. We know these severe cuts have destroyed the UK and Greece but the ideologues who are opposed to anything We the People benefit from and are owned by the people that will become fabulously more rich from austerity are bound and determined to cast our country into the abyss. Every single stinking time there's a Democrat in office we have this cockroach infested filth overflowing from the Capitol.
    We're a laughing stock to the rest of the world.

    February 17, 2013 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  18. abnguy

    Let the sequester happen. We are too far over the theoretical budget (that hasn't been passed in years) the national debt is more of a danger to our security than the military cuts.

    February 17, 2013 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  19. Skarphace

    sally27: "f the democrats are voted back in and Hillary is speaker of the House again "

    Er .. Hillary was never speaker of the House. You mean Pelosi maybe?

    February 17, 2013 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  20. John

    The GOP defunded the government for a reason, they want the cuts. Now they want to find a way to blame Obama. I hope all the single issue voters wake up before we lose Medicare and Social Security. Because that is what the GOP really wants!

    February 17, 2013 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  21. 111Dave111

    Republican Sen. John Barrasso [WY] 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.

    But of course President Obama is to blame according to the GOP.
    GOP is Greed, Obstruction, and Paranoia

    February 17, 2013 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  22. mick

    the Democrats don't want to cut spending.

    February 17, 2013 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  23. Paul Price

    @SALLY27

    "if the democrats are voted back in and Hillary is speaker of the House again"
    When exactly was it Hillary was Speaker of the House?

    February 17, 2013 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  24. tet1953

    Pathetic. It's the only word that comes to mind when I think of Congress.

    February 17, 2013 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  25. FloydZepp

    "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."

    ---–

    And you'll be out of office in 2014

    February 17, 2013 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
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