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. Susan

    As hard as it is going to be, these cuts and more are necessary.

    February 17, 2013 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  2. James PDX

    I'm fine with this sequestering provided the budget cuts include a total cessation of the salary for all Congress members and termination of their employment.

    February 17, 2013 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  3. gdouglaso

    Jokers to the left of me, clowns to the right...here I am, stuck in the middle with you.
    Who would have thought the "Space Cowboy" was such a sage political commentator. Who would have thought "a three ring circus" would be the best description for the house, senate and presidency? We need another "Philadelphia moment" (go to Independence Hall and see where many disparate voices came together). If there is truth to the saying, "united we stand," we are in trouble.

    February 17, 2013 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  4. jleoxii13

    I wish I was as ignorant as many that posted here. The lack of understanding about the deficit, the origin of sequester, who did what first....geeze. We dont need a revisionist news media. We have a revisionist populace.

    February 17, 2013 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  5. BldrRepublican

    The Dems are trying to "avert" spending cuts by spending more money we don't have.

    Wake up, Dems. You can't keep running a country on credit. You remember what happened in Greece, right? That's what happens when you spend more than you acquire.

    It's happening here.

    February 17, 2013 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  6. Phyllis Gwendoline Williams

    'If thou seest the oppression of the poor, and violent perverting of judgment and justice in a province, marvel not at the matter: for He that is Higher than the Highest REGARDETH...the profit of the earth is for all" (Ecclesiastes 5: 8-9)

    February 17, 2013 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  7. Andy H.

    These people want us to suffer, bunch of treasonous dolts.

    February 17, 2013 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  8. tucsonBill

    Senator Schumer pretty much summed up the Democratic strategy on all issues under this President – "we will win on this issue." Not "the country will win", but "we will win". The Progressive strategy is Democrats will win, Republicans will be devastated, the welfare of the country is an irrelevant arguement, because we, the Democrats, ARE the country. Hubris will eventually kill this country, where our external enemies never could.

    February 17, 2013 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  9. Factcheck

    The sequester should happen. The military budget is not a job program. It's time that we ended fat cat no-bid contracts getting rich off our tax dollars.

    February 17, 2013 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  10. reasonablebe

    their personal agenda and belief that everyone should let them rule (despite the major election loss) comes ahead of the well being of the country- too much tunnel vision. kind of like 12 year olds.

    February 17, 2013 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  11. Sal

    Two unfunded wars under g. bush and the republicans weren't complaining about that! 

    February 17, 2013 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  12. stevetall

    The junior senator from Wyoming? What a putz. Just another Republican clown NOT doing what's good for America. NOT leading, NOT compromising, NOT governing. NOT really working. Throw the bum out!

    February 17, 2013 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  13. Jeff O.

    I operate a business and have to negotiate with clients, vendors, suppliers and even employees. If I ran my business the way Congress and the President are, I would be out of business. I agree that part of any sequester should be a total suspension of their salaries. None of these people are really doing the job the are supposed to do for the American people. I don't recall voting for anyone to finger-point, stonewall and stagnate our economy. The country could be doing a lot better with compromise and reaching common goals, but our "leaders" only have one thing in common...complete stupidity.

    February 17, 2013 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  14. Ted

    Here comes the double dip. BO's a genius...at playing politics, not being a leader. Most polarizing president in our history.

    February 17, 2013 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  15. MeanOldMan

    The BS blame game continues. It was Obamas idea and everyone who follows politics knows that the republicans always rubber stamp everything he suggests. Get real. The president and everyone that voted for the sequester(of either party) are equally responsible. Now none of them want the blame for what it may do to the economy. Our economy is a mess and despite what many are led to believe the deficit is not the biggest problem it faces. Government spending cuts lead to more unemployment which in turn leads to lower revenue for the government which leads to more cuts. It creates a spiral downward that has already been proven in many countries in the world. The people in Washington need to stop thinking of themselves and their own re-elections first and start doing what they were sent there to do. Put the interests of the country first and stop trying to score political points and start trying to actually solve problems. The solutions won't be easy or in some cases popular but thats why they get the big bucks. If they are unwilling to do that they should be gone in the next elections. I've heard more intelligent discussions in the local schoolyards than what comes out of Washington in the last 20 years.

    February 17, 2013 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  16. datablade

    Response to: "Enough! The teapublicans should be arrested for Treason against the Country."

    Obviously you have no idea what the Tea Party stands for, and you should educate yourself on which party is spending the country into bankruptcy. Mindlessly spouting the DNC talking points is not a debate.

    February 17, 2013 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  17. sgurdog

    Republicans will either give up more skin or get skinned back home when their pet projects get the axe.

    February 17, 2013 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  18. TomNPitt

    The Country needs a veto overiding majority lead by Nancy Pelossi and Reed. The Republican's only want to stop everything from advancing, because they want the credit for it happening their way. Because they have thrown the American people out on the street for their own political gains, and nothing for average citizens – it's time to teach them a lesson and take all power away from them during the interim election. We need people who want to move the ball forward. Not a vocal, radical minority that wants nothing to happen so everyone else is as miserable as they are because a black democrat is in charge of the country,

    February 17, 2013 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  19. PlutoIsn'taPlanet

    Let the Senators, Congressmen, and Representatives all be paid minimum wage, begin to actually Pay for their health insurance, and not be allowed their champagne brunches, 'walk around money', so on..

    February 17, 2013 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  20. Ben

    Close the loopholes in the tax code that allow rich donor to avoid taxes. CUt spending, too. Not either, but both. The GOP does not understand what compromise means.

    February 17, 2013 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  21. AK_steve

    The GOP lost seats in congress and the senate. And they lost the presidency. Yet the still hold the entire country hostage by refusing to compromise on anything. And then they have the nerve to blame it on the democrats.

    What a bunch of self obsessed "party before people" whackos. They will risk the economy and blame it on the president.

    February 17, 2013 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  22. pgvaidya

    Thanks Marcus for bringing to our attention, the actions of a Republican president and a great war hero. Where do you find Republicans like him now? Even Nixon sounds much better now compared to Bush. I know that there would be shart term pain but how else will this Military Industrial Giant be tamed? And, now that the unpaid for Bush tax cuts are permanent for those making under 400000, we have to make cuts someday. It is better do all the cuts after the economy has boomed. But, by then a tea party candidate might win the presidency and increase defense and slash social security.

    February 17, 2013 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  23. people are idiots we will deserve what comes next

    People do not understand how bad these cuts are going to hurt the US economy. They have adopted tone, or maybe the politicians have adopted the tone, of this moronic cut cut cut mentality will ignoring that the Government is a huge generator of private sector economic momentum. There is a reason that business is screaming to stop the cuts....but the GOP are out to cause economic problems...they want to hurt the US economy. They see another recession as chance to gain politically.....the TEA PARTY and its minions do not care about you or I or the country in general.

    February 17, 2013 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  24. Ben

    Skarphace – Sally doesn't care who she blames as long as it's a Democrat. THis site is full of GOP bots squaking GOP talking points. Most of their posts are lies or mis-information. THe rest are off-topic

    February 17, 2013 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  25. stop-the-whining

    Let the sequester happen. Obama and the Democrats got their tax revenues during the fiscal cliff negotiations. It is now time for real, verifiable cuts.

    February 17, 2013 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
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