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. Anonymous

    There are an incredible amount of tax loopholes for big businesses...and not just for the oil and gas industries. Last year, Facebook reported a $1 billion profit and paid "0" in taxes. Look it up. Infact, because of these loopholes, to top it off they are gatting a refund of $429 million. These are the tax loopholes that need to be plugged. I don't understand how any politician (Democrat or Republican) can disagree with that.

    February 17, 2013 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  2. Skarphace

    jm3: "Calm down people 1.2 trillion over 10 years equals 100 million a year."

    You need to retake math class. That isn't even close.

    February 17, 2013 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  3. RINO Bill

    What a bunch of idiots! Sequestration was agreed to by both Republicans and Democrats. It was NOT Obama's idea and saying so won't make it so. So my advice to the Republican-Tea Party is to grow a pair, admit you had a hand in it and work with the Dems to fix it. If sequestration hits, the GOP is going to look back at the elections of '08 and '12 as the good old days.

    February 17, 2013 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  4. John

    What I want to know Is way these Republican are saying that It going to happen, Instead of finding a way to stop It from happening. This Is the same thing the Republican have done for they last two years. It Time to get the Republican out of control of Congress In 2014 and some from the Senate.

    February 17, 2013 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  5. mike

    2014. Ditch Mitch and let him take his friends with him.

    February 17, 2013 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  6. rs

    Sequester should take place ! IT WAS BARRACKS IDEA !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1111111111
    Delusion is strong here. So, what? Obama "fooled" the Republicans into writing up and passing a bill that would crash the economy and they didn't notice?

    February 17, 2013 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  7. Skarphace

    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."

    Er .. it isn't Welfare that is going to be cut along with defense, but Social Security and Medicare. The people you are calling 'lazy democrats" are not only retired, and therefore already paid their share of income taxes, but consist of both Democrtats and Republicans.

    February 17, 2013 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  8. Name lynn

    John you saying without obama an the democrates, its doesnt matter it will be budgets cuts because you an the republicans are in controll. I am glad you are the president.

    February 17, 2013 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  9. Sheri

    It is time for the Democrats to pay the piper. They haven't come up with a budget in over 4 years. Government spending is out of control. There should be limits across the board. They need to keep their fingers out of Social Security. It isn't their money, it is the belongs to the people who have paid into. Free phones and unlimited welfare and food stamps is ridiculous. All of these unnecessary pet projects attached to everything should be cut out. Subsidies and tax breaks to businesses making millions in profits need to be cut out. The greedy is what is causing the fall of our nation. And no I am not a racist!! I am looking at what is happening. Maybe this sequester will be a good thing and maybe it won't, but something has to happen for this country to get back on track.

    February 17, 2013 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  10. Alan

    Does anyone else find it ironic that we have these budget battles, the looming "fiscal cliff" that supposedly will devastate our economy and have to borrow...borrow...borrow to keep this economy running but can send Egypt $1.5 billion in military aid? Especially when they will likely use those weapons to attack our interests in the mid-east?

    February 17, 2013 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  11. onlymho

    the current annual deficit is $1.6 trillion, so $16 trillion over the next decade – the sequester cuts $1.2 trillion over the next decade – a less than 10% reduction in the annual deficit – about a 3% reduction in total spending

    that is nothing – no agency or department should even miss it – I've participated in 10% annual reductions in expenses in several companies that I've worked for and managed to get the job done and still maintain required service levels

    our government is just trying to scare us more and more

    we need to reduce the deficit to zero in less than 10 years – anything less then that is just blowing smoke

    (if I got the numbers wrong please point me to my error)

    February 17, 2013 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  12. glorydays

    Good, slash the hell out of the "defense" department.

    February 17, 2013 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  13. DocHollywood

    All of you dying to have the sequester go into effect, don't go crying when you get laid off. Think austerity works in a recession, or in the beginning of a recovery? Ask Greece. I guess the republican house is determined to get us into a depression. They couldn't do it when Bush was busting the budget sending boys and girls to their deaths in a country that had nothing to do with 9/11, but by god they'll do it now. It's apparently the only way they think they can keep the white base and what's left of their power. But much like the dinosaur, they're also headed to extention, mostly due to their arrogance.

    February 17, 2013 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  14. Pander Bear

    This is entirely the GOP's fault and everyone knows it. They will reap the whirlwind as a result.

    February 17, 2013 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  15. mike poli

    The proposed 28th amendment reads as such:

    28th amendment.

    Congress shall make no law that applies to the citizens of the United States that does not apply equally to the Senators and/or Representatives, and Congress shall make no law that applies to the Senators and/or representatives that does not apply equally to the citizens of the United States.

    February 17, 2013 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  16. Bill

    Balance the Budget. Treat your budget like every American is forced to treat their budget.

    February 17, 2013 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  17. Rosslaw

    The republicans voted for the sequester and now act as though it was imposed on them by some mysterious outside force. The republicans want to stop economic growth, put the eoonomy in the toilet-again-and pray for a massive domestice terrorist attack to use as a wedge issue. They are a national security threat.

    February 17, 2013 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  18. FlotsamJetsam

    To those that say that this sequester was all Obama's idea (like Ron) . First they have a very self serving and selective memory of how this came about. The terms of the sequester were hammered out in the House if the "SuperComittee" could not come to a resolution.

    This plan was supported by the House. In fact 2/3 of the vote FOR this sequestration deal was GOP votes and Boehner hailed it as him getting '98% of what I wanted." SO to call it Obama's sequester is just plain wrong and very disingenuous. But why should this be any different that the lack of effort so evidenced in the "Fiscal Cliff" or the cabinet confirmations.

    February 17, 2013 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  19. us_1776

    Stupid GOP/TEA party.

    3/4ths or $12T of our $16T debt is due to UNFUNDED GOP WARS and UNFUNDED GOP PROGRAMS over the past 30 years.

    Then GOP/TEA tops it off with the massive GOP economic collapse of 2007.

    GOP/TEA, pay for what YOU spent. Pay for the damage YOU caused. Then we'll talk about cuts.


    February 17, 2013 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  20. Steve

    Yes we need to cut spending. Our defense budget is a joke... We spend more than the other big countries combined and we can even win in Afghanistan.

    February 17, 2013 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  21. Jill

    I vote sequester. Only way government will do what it promised us.

    February 17, 2013 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  22. Jack33

    As long as this Country is propping up a system where the elite & few rich class continue to see their self-written wages increase at double the rate of inflation per year, while 82% of the rest of the Country sees their wages increase at half of inflation or less, nothing will get fixed.

    Continue on this path, and eventually this nation will collapse, due to 82%+ having no disposable income to make purchases at the tens of thousand of businesses around the Country. A handful of rich people cannot sustain that.

    February 17, 2013 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  23. Red Herring

    flippin GOP babies... taxation is part of the job. if you don't EVER want to raise taxes, then A) don't take a job in politics, and B) don't slash taxes while increasing spending exponentially. I know that it's important for the GOP to try and blame everything that has ever gone wrong in this country's history on the left wing liberal media, but they've just become whiny and without direction or purpose other than to constantly claim that Obama must be from Kenya and he "only" won because of the "minority" vote. My Daughter is in grade school, and that's the only place i find similar day to day language. GROW UP AND WORK TOGETHER!!!! WE ARE ALL SO TIRED OF THIS CRAP!!!!!!

    February 17, 2013 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  24. Bob

    I thought we took care of the tax thing last go round. Hmmm...same old same old. Sequester needs to be done to clear the air. It will not be nearly as bad as we are told and very well may get us back to where we want to be more quickly. Sequester...let's see what it looks like. Not to mention a sequester will be a lot easier for politicians to undo than a tax increase or any of their other maniacal ideas.

    February 17, 2013 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  25. mjm

    cut the damn payroll-what i live on should be what they live on–if i can support 5 on what i get then they can also-i wish to god i could afford to move out of the states–our government is an embarassment.......

    February 17, 2013 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
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