August 5th, 2012
11:12 AM ET
10 years ago

Graham: Sequestration 'is the dumbest thing'

(CNN) - Sen. Lindsey Graham on Sunday made a fervent plea for Congress to reach a deal that would avoid the onset of automatic, widespread cuts - also known as sequestration - set to take place at the end of the year, which critics say would especially threaten the military.

"We do dumb things in Congress. This sequestration idea is the dumbest thing," he said on CNN's "State of the Union."

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The cuts, which would total $1.2 trillion, came about after a congressional "super committee" last year failed to reach a deficit reduction deal and instead assigned the cuts to take place if Congress did not find a new plan by the end of 2012.

At issue is the best way to reduce the deficit: Republicans call for spending cuts and amending the tax code (though without raising taxes), while Democrats advocate a plan that would bring in more revenue to close the cap through a tax hike on the very wealthy.

Graham on Sunday said he embraces the Simpson-Bowles plan, which would reduce the debt by $4 trillion in the next decade by cutting defense and discretionary spending, curbing federal entitlement costs and reforming the tax code by cutting certain loopholes and deductions.

It failed to pass with enough votes in the presidential debt commission in 2010, but Republicans to this day still link back to the proposal's key points.

"The construct of sequestration is if politicians failed to do their job in the super committee, the penalty was to destroy the military. We got this wrong. We should fire the politicians, keep the soldiers," Graham told CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley.

The South Carolina senator warned that time was running out and urged President Barack Obama and the White House to reach a compromise with congressional Republicans.

However, Obama put the blame on Congress during a speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars last month, saying lawmakers on Capitol Hill were "playing politics with the military."

"There's no reason that should happen, because people in Congress ought to be able to come together and agree on a plan, a balanced approach that reduces the deficit and keeps our military strong," the president said.

And on the same program Sunday, Obama campaign adviser Robert Gibbs reiterated Democratic calls to raise taxes on the wealthy in order to help make a dent in the deficit.

"Let's preserve the size of the Navy and the Air Force by not giving tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires," he said on "State of the Union."

Watch State of the Union with Candy Crowley Sundays at 9am ET. For the latest from State of the Union click here.

Filed under: 2012 • Debt • Deficit • Lindsey Graham • Robert Gibbs • TV-State of the Union
soundoff (62 Responses)
  1. DH

    Why will he not just show his tax returns? Give one viable reason...not just because I shouldn't have to. As a public official running for President in this economy, this is a definetly a part of the process. I want to know if he has performed his civic duty and justly paid his taxes!

    August 5, 2012 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  2. scarf

    There's an old saying: People in groups agree upon courses of action which, as individuals, they know are stupid. Graham is confirming the veracity of that adage. Maybe they should RAISE TAXES

    August 5, 2012 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |

    Wow,look at the unhinged GOBP tea potty squirm. They are stuck with the worst candidate in the history of the republic because the radical extremists bought them with staged rallies,townhalls and bus rides.

    August 5, 2012 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  4. Patrick in Minnesota

    So if the opposite of pro is con, is the opposite of progress congress?

    August 5, 2012 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  5. Clifford Spencer

    Is it an impeachable offense foe a senator to lie?
    For a Republican senator?

    August 5, 2012 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  6. jesse butler

    Brilliant stratagy by Reid. Romney will refuse to release records right up to election, maybe release them at last minute hoping people wont have time to review them. If he has nothing to hide, WHY HIDE IT ???? DUH!
    This could be devastating to Romney.

    August 5, 2012 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  7. Dave Harris

    It's amazing how Republicans rail against the very things that they themselves have brought about. In their determination to destroy the government and the country that they and their followers hate so much, they have blocked any attempt to rationally deal with the government's financial problems. Of course, Obama hasn't come up with much of a solution either, but if he did Republicans would block it. So now 'stupid' things are going to happen, because that's all our worthless 'leaders' are capable of.

    August 5, 2012 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  8. matt

    The sequester is about the only thing Congress has done for the past 2 years.

    August 5, 2012 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  9. Chris in NY

    Coming from this war monger, I will takit with a pinch of salt. They instigate wars and stay on their behind while other people's children go and die.

    August 5, 2012 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  10. Pete

    Graham needs to go home to S.Carolina and give Haley the boot.He should learn to how to clean his own house before commenting on others.I'm a 1/4 back from that state and they're still mad about losing the Civil war,get over it or move to an island somewhere where nobody has to hear your grumbling..The only "Adult"in this state politically is Sen.Clyburn, a true country gentleman,he's what keeps this state afloat,not that Haley the corporate puppet...

    August 5, 2012 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  11. USAF 920th RQS Vet

    Raising taxes on millionaires and billionaires seems especially appealing to me because you'll never be a millionaire and billionaire if you are a life-long soldier like me and my father. Plus millionaires and billionaires (and their kids)normally don't join the military. We soldiers are the ones paying with our lives everyday so that they can live the American dream, let them pay something extra in taxes.

    August 5, 2012 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  12. Paul

    Seems like if Romney has nothing to hide in his past tax returns he could do himself a big favor by simply releasing them. There HAS to be something in them (low tax rates at a minimum) that would reflect poorly on him to be so steadfast in not making them public.

    August 5, 2012 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
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