Harry Reid (D-Nev.) rejected a proposal, supported by some Senate Republicans, to allow the president’s administration more flexibility in implementing cuts from the sequester.
Reid told reporters that there was no reason for Congress to cede power to the administration and dismissed allowing individual committees in Congress to adjust spending reductions, reports Politico.
“We have a law that’s in effect — it’s called sequestration,” Reid said.
“Those cuts will go forward. They’re all cuts. I think we need some revenue to take the pressure off of everybody. The American people agree with me. Until there is some agreement on revenue, I believe we should just go ahead with the sequester.”
Before the automatic spending cuts actually take hold on Friday, Senate Democrats are to offer an alternative that consists roughly of equal parts spending cuts and new tax revenue, the latter mostly from a 30 percent minimum tax on millionaires known as the “Buffett Rule.”
The Senate Majority Leader announced to reporters that he would not agree to any package that replaces the sequester with only spending cuts.
“We have a law that’s in effect. It’s call sequestration. Those cuts will go forward. They’re all cuts. I think we need some revenue to take the pressure off everybody. The American people agree with me, and until there’s some agreement on revenue, I believe we should just go ahead with the sequester,” Reid said.
Reid’s rejection of proposal floated by Senate Republicans was aimed to give the Obama administration more flexibility to manage the impact of the $85 billion in automatic cuts.
“Republicans are under the false concept that this so-called ‘flexibility,’ which is a nice-sounding word, gives the bureaucrats who would wind up doing this more money. It gives them no more money. Zero,” he said.
The Senate Majority Leader went on, adding that if Barack Obama had more flexibility to manage the cuts to defense, he would likely target $7 billion worth of add-ons from members of Congress.
However, Reid added that he would still leave the administration well short of the spending cuts needed to achieve to offset the sequester, The Hill writes.
The politician supposed that is probably why Sen. John McCain, a leading proponent of the military in the GOP conference, does not support the Republican alternative.
“It gives the White House more power than they have now,” Reid said. “We have already given up — because of the Republicans — earmarking. Now they want to give the president more power? No wonder McCain opposes this.”
Reid’s statement was a response to Speaker Boehner’s comments the latter kicked on Tuesday. The latter had a message for his colleagues in the Senate: Get off your “ass.”
“The president has known for 16 months that this sequester was looming out there when the super committee failed to come to an agreement,” Boehner told reporters on Capitol Hill.
“And so for 16 months, the president has been traveling all over the country holding rallies instead of sitting down with Senate leaders in order to try to forge an agreement over there in order to move a bill.
He went further, adding: “We have moved a bill in the House twice. We should not have to move a third bill before the Senate gets off their ass and begins to do something.”
The Speaker also accused President Obama of heading to Virginia “to use our military men and women as a prop.”