February 17th, 2013
11:27 AM ET
5 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. mick

    I still can't figure out why liberals don't understand. We can't keep spending and spending you fools.

    February 17, 2013 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  2. Leonore H. Dvorkin

    The Republicans are only assuring their own downfall with this obstructionist idiocy. I wish we could cut all their salaries and pensions!

    February 17, 2013 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  3. Donkey Party

    AB @ 12:20 – 70% of all welfare recipients are white Republicans. Swing and a miss...

    February 17, 2013 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  4. Dave Harris

    For Republicans it's a mixed bag. They have to give up the Army that they imagine protects them from all those 'fureigners' they're so terrified of. But they also get to starve some old people. It's a nasty piece of work they can be proud of.

    February 17, 2013 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  5. wolfpackbob

    The president got his tax increase that he demanded last month. Now how about the balance he was talking about? Spending cuts? Not a chance. Promises mean nothing. The sequester was President Obama's idea. Sounds like he is a flip-flopping. The media is again deaf, dumb and blind when it comes to President Obama.

    February 17, 2013 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  6. Dave

    The Republican party is self destructing. It's actually kind of funny to watch.

    February 17, 2013 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  7. Skarphace

    Since Obama was re-elected in November, Republicans have been on the losing end of every issue. They want one win, and feel that it can come from the sequester. However, most Americans know that even if the sequester kicks in, Obama has already saved most of us from the tax hikes that the Republicans were holding hostage to protect the wealthy.

    All they are doing now is acting like spoiled children. "It's not fair. Tommy got better presents than me!" Pathetic.

    February 17, 2013 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  8. RRJ25

    98% of the people don't care if the wealth 2% pay more taxes. Why would we?

    The wealthy don't set out to create jobs. They don't invest for the good of the country. They invest to get wealthier. Jobs are an unfortunate expense that often can be eliminated by outsourcing.

    February 17, 2013 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  9. alientech

    Sequester – what a beautiful word.

    February 17, 2013 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  10. Hillcrester

    I'm glad the GOP wants full credit for the mayhem that will ensue once these cuts are in place.

    February 17, 2013 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  11. Rain man

    If they don't fix this problem the American people won't stand for it. There will be an up raising like this country has never seen. The people are sick of the politicans making one problem after another. They will be thrown out of office for not doing the work of the people. This country was not built by politicans, it was built by the very people they refuse to listen to. Our politicans has gotten way to big for it's britches and needs to be put in their place. They work for the people of this country not some corporation. They seem to have forgotten that. But I think they'll get it after they screw this one up. The American people will only take so much before they fight back. I think the lines have been drawn. I could be wrong but I don't think so.

    February 17, 2013 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  12. penguin

    When families have financial difficulties they cut spending and find extra work to increase income. It's not rocket science. The formula is quite simple- CUT SPENDING & RAISE REVENUE.
    I'm on SS retirement and am not opposed to changing the formula for calculating the COLA even though I would get less. My spouse has a good job and we donate several thousand to a variety of charities and church. We should eliminate the charitable contribution deduction. I would then be paying more in taxes. This is reasonable.

    February 17, 2013 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  13. alan

    another mis-step GOP.......are you all that stupid?

    February 17, 2013 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  14. Lee

    The obstructionists just don't give a damn about this country and will do anything they can to destroy President Obama even if it means taking the country down with him. It's shameful and disgusting. I hope they pay dearly in 2014. They know our economy is getting better and are doing everything they can to stop that. There will be thousands of jobs lost if this sequester takes hold hurting the middle class so instead of staying in Washington to find a solution they leave town. Gimme a break!!

    February 17, 2013 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  15. Saboth

    This was 100% the idea of Congress. There's 2 things that need to happen to our country. We need spending cuts, and we need taxes to go up to pay for the spending of the last administration (wars, tsa, homeland security, medicare plan d, tarp, 2 unpaid for wars, etc.). However, we need those things to happen in about 4-5 years from now once the economy has recovered more, not right now. Spending cuts now, or taxes on the middle and lower classes now will result in another recession, which will erase any gains we'd make from doing either one.

    February 17, 2013 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  16. blastedyank

    So, 1.2 trillion in cuts over 10 years is massive? That works out to 120 billion per year out of a budget that is over 3.5 trillion in size and takes only 12 percent out of a yearly deficit that is 1 trillion. That doesn't even get us close to going back to the worst deficits suffered under George W. Bush.

    Never fear ye backers of budget-busted, bloated government. One day we're all going to get exactly what we bargained for when the devil comes to collect his due. Democrats and Republicans alike.

    February 17, 2013 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  17. beegee

    I just dont understand why anyone will defend subsidies for oil companies and tax loopholes for everyone, be it poor, rich or corporations. For me, tax loopholes are freebies too. Why wont the GOP agree to this and put the Democrats and the President in a bind to finally cut social programs?
    Reading some of the posts here makes senses why this country is a mess.

    February 17, 2013 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  18. rs

    "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.
    If your theory held any value, Republican states wouldn't be the ones taking in the greatest amount federal funding. Unfortunately, it is the red states that take the most.
    Try again.

    February 17, 2013 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  19. md22mdrx


    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!!


    Lol. The republicans in the House had to agree to it as well. "LET THE *REAL* TRUTH BE KNOWN!!!" ...... what a garbage statement. The REAL truth is both sides had to agree to it for it to happen.
    Also "LET IT BE KNOWN!!!" that republicans were all up in arms over military spending cuts ... but now are "ALL FOR" them because they think it will harm Obama politically. What hypocrites!!!!

    February 17, 2013 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  20. Peace

    Republicans must get back to their sense. There is no citizen who is ready to swallow the bitter pill. Some may say it is OK with the cuttings, BUT wait when the cuts are real. That will be the time when republicans will understand what it means by being " human beings".

    February 17, 2013 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  21. Steven Colo

    The sequester means that the Senate has no useful function any more. Might as well fire them all and save the money from their salaries. If they can't agree on anything and pass any bills, why bother?

    February 17, 2013 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  22. beegee

    My solution to Medicare and Social security, what you contribute to these programs adjusted for inflation is what you get. Once you exhaust that, you're on your own. Simple maths, you get what you contribute. Whoever oppose this should explain to us where the extra money will come from for the extra benefits.

    February 17, 2013 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  23. nytw

    One can only hope God gives our Conservative leaders in Congress the strength to stand up for America. Please God give them the strength to save America from Obama and those that hate your Word.

    February 17, 2013 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  24. EldRick

    Balanced has apparently become a code-word for Higher Taxes.

    No, thanks, Barry.

    February 17, 2013 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  25. manhandler1

    More power to you Republicans. Can't wait for you to cement your demise in 2014.

    February 17, 2013 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
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