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. John

    The GOP act as if they had won the presidential election with their vision of the US economy, they lost the election because voters didn't trust their economic plan, and with legitimate concerns. The GOP insult Americans with their hard handed claims, and demands, all like they won the presidential election with their economic strategy. The GOP members have cognitive issues that should be taken care of with their free medical benefits the rest of America doesn't have.

    February 17, 2013 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  2. BeverlyNC

    Republicans seem determined to destroy our economy, get us into any new war, and obstruct ALL legislation designed for jobs, infrastructure, education, research, new energy alternatives, and even aid for veterans. They have filibustered 386 times over the past 5 years – the normal number of filibusters is 0. Republicans are the ones who created this sequester and laid out the very spending cuts that would happen to force a budget -now that they have been on recess more than in Washington working – it is suddenly President Obama's fault. I have no doubt the sequester will occur because Republicans have no leaders, no statesman who put country first, and want any progress while President Obama is in office. Republicans ignore the People and what we want and need. We voted for President Obama for a reason – we want the items in his agenda to get passed. Republicans will not listen and we need to make sure we get all of them up for re-election out in 2014 so some real work for the sake of the People can finally happen.

    February 17, 2013 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  3. Kevin

    @jm3 – You say "do the math" and then tell us 1.2 trillion over ten years equals 100 million per year. It's 120 BILLION per year, or $375 per person per year.

    So what services are you willing to give up? What Federal services worth $1500 per year should every family of four give up?

    February 17, 2013 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  4. Loki

    can we fire Congress?

    February 17, 2013 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  5. Eric

    Hello, this is the rest of the world here, wishing you stupid americans would just get on with your second civil war, then we could watch it on CNN

    February 17, 2013 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  6. usadownthedrain

    2% across the board spending cuts are hardly "massive" or fiscally destructive. Get real.

    February 17, 2013 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  7. Klaark

    Good. About time we stopped spending so much on war. Republicans just love it...no money for education or health care but they'll happily spend trillions sending Americans off to die and kill. Ignore the Party of Death's pleas for more death money.

    February 17, 2013 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  8. john

    Why are spending cuts calculated over a 10-year timeframe while deficits are calculated over a 1-year timeframe? Call it was it is: $120 billion in cuts to offset a deficit of over $1.2 TRILLION. That leaves us only $1.08 TRILLION in the red next year alone!

    Stop funding unnecessary items. And by unnecessary, I mean anything that isn't required to maintain the existence of the country.

    And where's the story about the immigration bill?

    February 17, 2013 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  9. DonnieHumfress

    @Sally27 Before you start commenting on politics you should learn a little about politics so you can comment intelligently on the subject. Hillary is not and has not been speaker of the House . Thats Republican John Boehner. Hillary was secretary of state and will be President in 2016. Your fear mongering Republicans are becoming extinct.

    February 17, 2013 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  10. MBSeattle

    Pray for the GOP they seem lost and despreate. They keep bringing the country to the brink of economic failure to prove their point. The GOP has not shown leadership in years on the economy or defense. They are the small tent party.

    February 17, 2013 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  11. kylefromohio

    And now the GOP is telling the American People what is best for them forget about voting the debt is the big issue, not JobS???

    February 17, 2013 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  12. Joey Navis

    hillary speaker of the house again???? that must be an alternate universe u r living in, huh??? i always suspected that many reactionaries were living there.

    February 17, 2013 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  13. Royal Flush

    "The senator said there are "much better ways to do these budget cuts," though he did not mention specific proposals."

    It would be helpful if Senator Barrasso would reveal the Republicans plan. All these gas bags do is talk in circles with no intention of doing anything but looking towards the next election. Too much partisanship and too much money in today's politics especially at the national level.

    February 17, 2013 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  14. joe poor

    Dblogger are you kidding? Pennetta is not out yet. There was not a few days before leaving because he has not yet left. Why shouldn't we quit spending more than we take in? We can't control the past, but we can the future. It is remarkable how well some do at spending other people's money. Go to Dave Ramseys Financial Peace University and see the model more of us need to live by.

    February 17, 2013 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  15. richard

    If it should happen then All of congress should get a pay cut alson. Then all Troops should not help in any natural disaster since funding isnt there to help out. All GOP Sen. that vote against it should be prepared to stand firm for their state and refuse all Goverment aid from DC. Then lets see who has their hands sticking out.

    February 17, 2013 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  16. Kevin

    The funny thing is they're still trying to pin the sequester on Obama.

    February 17, 2013 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  17. nomad2003

    these are NOT cuts the way you and I think about cuts in spending... This is the DC definition of a cut.. a reduction in the increase of future spending... Future spending has a planned increase of 9 trillion in the next 10 years. A 1.2 trillion reduction reduces the INCREASE to 7.8 trillion.

    February 17, 2013 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  18. Zwei Stein

    So...let it happen! It's just another nail in the GOP coffin.

    February 17, 2013 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  19. M-W-T

    Mr Boehner said," I got 98 % of what I wanted" in the sequester,..... remember that????
    So the republicans OWN 98% of those cuts.........and now you want to blame the POTUS for 2% of those cuts.....
    REPUBLICANS BOUGHT THIS ON THEMSELFS.....No one else is to blame
    I'm a INDEPENTANT.......It will be a hell of a long time before I ever TRUST or VOTE for a republican again

    February 17, 2013 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  20. joel palmer

    Here are a few facts: 1. you CANNOT balance the US budget and won't be able to for almost a decade and that's if we DON'T have another recession. 2. The current debt deficit is ENTIRELY the fault of GOP and George W. Bush; period 3. The sequester is a construct of the congress and GOP, not the President 4. The GOP will cave since even their own base (wealthy and fat cats and corporations) do NOT want these cuts to happen. All the above are facts

    February 17, 2013 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  21. M-W-T

    It should read BROUGHT and INDEPENDENT......OOPS!

    February 17, 2013 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  22. jim

    and the Republicans wonder why they are losing voters

    February 17, 2013 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  23. JRJ

    It may be time for a major change. A total change. This is no longer the America I grew up in.

    February 17, 2013 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  24. Ross


    February 17, 2013 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  25. Ron

    sally27: "If Hillary is Speaker of the House Again"? HAHAHAHA You are clueless lol

    February 17, 2013 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
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