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. NameFranklin myers

    Let the sequester happen. I am a Federal employee and I am set to start a nice furlough layoff..... 3 day beach weekends sound pretty nice all summer long. Looking forward to being furloughed. Thank you republicans.

    February 17, 2013 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  2. pgvaidya

    Thanks MarcusMACV for reminding us about a republican president who was also a great war hero. Where do you find a republican like Eisenhower now? Ideally, we should wait for the cuts but if we wait, we may never be able to contain the monster created by what he called the Military Industrial Complex.

    February 17, 2013 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  3. Any other place it would be called extortion

    The way the GOP act, they have a gun to the head of America...if they don't exactly what they want they will shoot. The real secrete is that they will shoot anyway. These cuts are going to put close to a million people out of work! The GOP do not care....the current House is the most dangerous political body that has existed since the Congress of 1860.

    February 17, 2013 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  4. Fanfare

    It doesn't matter what the Democrats or Independents propose. Private pension plans, savings, union companies like Detroit and the middle class equioty in homes have been consumed by trickle down economics.To continue the path Social Security and Medicare plus loacal, state and Federal pensions and wages are all that are left and the Republicams need that money freed up to support the wealthy. We used to be Republicans but when it became clear the party had no intentions of supporting the middle class we left it. Listening to any Republican give a speech today os a broken record. It will always begin with "we'd like to help" and end with" but someone else is keeping us from doing it."

    February 17, 2013 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  5. bee

    Wow, these jerks are a joke...GOP, a lot of your days are numbered..

    February 17, 2013 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  6. Cuts = Recession

    Which is just what the GOP want. They want the economy to tank because they know it will be easy to convince the yokels that the fault was with Obama...not the House, no Congress... The House of Representatives just doesn't care about the USA right now.

    February 17, 2013 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  7. TomNPitt

    So is it too early to ask John Bonner and the republican congress – where's the jobs now?? If you want to take money out of the economy, how are you going to replace it?? Money equals jobs. If you take it out of the economy and give it to rich people – it's still out of the economy. Taking it out of government run programs and giving it to the rich is nothing more than the class warfare we've endured since the epubican's took over the Congress during Gingrich's reign!!

    February 17, 2013 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  8. MAC

    The military cuts should start with the bloated civil service in the DOD. My 20 years experience in the military I saw better service from the military personel than the civilians doing the same job catagory.

    February 17, 2013 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  9. GaryOwen27

    The Red Neck Right throws us back into economic dispare yet again.....so what else is new?

    February 17, 2013 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  10. Kona

    The pain has to come sometime, why not now? It's ridiculous to think that we can't cut spending by a mere $120B/yr in a budget of $3.6T. That is what, 3%?? It actually needs to be cut more, but it is smarter to raise revenues and do more targeted cuts to work our way out of endless deficit spending.

    February 17, 2013 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  11. Melissa

    People seem to forget that hundreds of thousands of people work for the federal govt, from janitors to IT folks, teachers on military bases to construction guys, and they will all be effectively unemployed if this happens. It's easy to say let it happen when you only think about the rich elected officials, but they're not going to be the ones hurt. It's the rest of us, and our families, who will be in danger of losing our homes and not being able to afford groceries. I'm tired of grown men and women who can't seem to manage the most basic kindergarten concept of compromise, and who prefer to grandstand rather than do what's best for anyone other than themselves.

    February 17, 2013 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  12. Anthony in California

    So John Boehner should be happy! He said he got 95% of what he wanted out of the deals last year anyway...
    Your plan backfired John.. you were too busy playing checkers while the President was playing chess....

    February 17, 2013 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  13. popeye1128

    Does anyone else feel like we've gotten nothing but threats and scare tactics from both the Left and Right for the past 2+ years with next to nothing accomplished?
    I'm disgusted with all of it.

    February 17, 2013 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  14. For what it's worth

    Listening to republicans is like watching someone on a suicide watch. They really just don't give a flip about what happens to our country or their party. All out of spite and petty disputes, they have already started eating their own and won't be content until they have totally destroyed our nation... and with their absurd they think that somehow they will come out smelling like a rose.

    February 17, 2013 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  15. Kwalker

    Republican politicians are so , so, sad!

    They are like a really bad drummer and bass player in a band. No matter how good the rest of the band is, the band will still be awful!

    Republican politicians all got what they needed while growing up in this country:

    Free community / state college, low class sizes, cheap medical care, low cost insurances, very few lawsuit happy lawyers, little or no jail and lifetime criminal records for drug possession, low property taxes, low cost home buying, gas was cheap, large pensions, expensive retirement plans including free lifetime health insurance, mail delivered on Saturdays, etc.

    Republican are the true "takers".

    They have taken what they've wanted growing up, and now intend on changing the system so they can screw the kids in our country, and take even more without contributing much to the U.S economy as the wealthy did when the Republican politicians were growing up. The Republican policies are formed by special interests. Their propaganda rules the media.

    Republican politicians are mostly a bunch of 60's era hippies that rednecks have voted in and allowed them to screw the country up.

    Now they want to not pay their bills.

    Typical Hippie mentality!

    If i go over my limit 1 cent, I damage my credit rating and my interest rate skyrockets.

    What is the cost of the U.S. not paying it's bills? Charge the amount to the states that vote these Republican fools in! Or at least reduce any Federal money they receive by that amount. Let the children of the fools in their home states be the ones that suffer.

    February 17, 2013 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  16. Carol Johnson

    If we had republican that cared half as much about their oath of office as they do about their allegiance to Grover Norquist, we might could get something done about the deficit and budget cuts that will devastate education, the military and the repair of out infrastructure!!!

    February 17, 2013 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  17. Mike

    Hey GOP, sequester THIS!

    February 17, 2013 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  18. Matt

    I loving hearing Republicans complain about these cuts..as if they haven't been advocating them for the past 5 years. The GOP wanted all cuts, let's see how well the citizens enjoy them.

    February 17, 2013 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  19. Acedavis

    To those who think the cuts are a good idea.....you're all idiots. Do you want another Bengahzi like what happened last year?! Because that's what will happen to overseas the embassies and outposts as well as bases as soon as those cuts are done. And foreign aid will be cut as well....don't start with me on that one, its needed to keep stability in the rest of the world. Yeash when I look at your comments you sound like you've never even read or watched the news at all!

    February 17, 2013 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  20. Alan

    What a collective bunch of worthless clowns. Anyone who believes this is one party's fault or the other's is deluding themselves. BOTH sides of the aisle are at fault for DECADES of ineffective leadership! And yet we continue to elect the same morons, all of whom are determined to flush this country down the toilet....all in the name of "who has power". SMH!

    February 17, 2013 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  21. CronoT

    The GOP is finally showing their true colors. In the choice between the military & the rich, they're screwing the military & bowing & scraping before their pay masters.

    February 17, 2013 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  22. simplecitizen

    The article shows the different mindsets of Americans, do you want fewer tax breaks & a larger government, or more tax breaks and a smaller government. When the goverment expands we spend more of our own money covering a lot of people who don't want to do their part. As for high taxes on the rich I wish someone would suggest a 48% tax rate on everyone, your dollar matters as much to you as it does to them. I make very little money and I think over taxing the rich instead of reducing governent programs is not the way to go.

    February 17, 2013 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  23. darell

    He-says-mr.-hagel-says-one-popular-thing-one-minute-then-another-popular-thing-the-next.-Most-congressional-republicans-have-been-doing-this-since-our-current-president-got-elected-in-2008

    February 17, 2013 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  24. Smeagel4T

    Obama only vowed that the cuts would not happen come the turn of the year. He was right. If the GOP remains too fiscally incompetent to deal with a balanced approach within the grace period, then that's the GOP's fault. A whole lot more Republicans voted for the sequester than did Democrats, and it was their insistence upon maintaining their fiscally incompetent "borrow and spend" poliicies that lead to it in the first place. They own it.

    All the GOP cuts to Pentagon spending better come out of the GOP's corporate welfare projects. It's time to bring an end to all the GOP's fiscally incompetent "borrow and spend" programs of pumping pork through the Pentagon bureaucracy to the military-industrial complex welfare queen corporations.

    February 17, 2013 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  25. just me

    I just want to remind everyone who is gung-ho for making cuts to the "government spending" that it is not the people that got us into this mess that will experience those cuts. It's real families where one or both wage earners happen to work for the federal government in some capacity. You're talking a 20% pay cut for ordinary regular people! So the top 2% can continue to have their tax cuts?? Really?? Why should my family (and yes, my spouse works for the federal government, for the defense department, supporting our military) and others like us bear the brunt of this? We didn't do anything to cause the budget mess; we have no say in policy; we're not mooching off of the government; we are in fact supporting our troops and this is the thanks we get. Shame on the GOP for not doing everything possible to protect ordinary citizens from paying the price – I don't care whose fault it is. And if they really truly think this is necessary, they should lead by example and furlough their own staff and advisors, and take an equivalent salary cut themselves, as well as an equivalent cut in all funding used to conduct business in their offices.

    February 17, 2013 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
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