Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
September 17, 2014

Graham Says Senators ‘Screwed Ourselves’ on Sequester

Graham 9 073013 445x301 Graham Says Senators Screwed Ourselves on Sequester

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)

“We screwed ourselves here.”

That was Sen. Lindsey Graham’s take on the budget law that led to the sequester Thursday morning at the Appropriations Committee markup of the fiscal 2014 Defense spending bill. The South Carolina Republican said he voted against the 2011 Budget Control Act fearing a worst-case scenario in which the bipartisan supercommittee didn’t produce an outcome, leading to the sequester.

Graham was explaining his vote against the $594.4 billion Defense measure, which exceeds the spending caps established by the budget law. Graham, however, praised the efforts of Subcommittee Chairman Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill., and ranking member Thad Cochran, R-Miss., in putting together the bill.

This is Durbin’s first go-around as chairman of the Defense subcommittee, having succeeded the late Daniel K. Inouye of Hawaii in that role.

“If Congress and the president cannot reach an agreement to undo sequestration, the Department of Defense must take across-the-board cuts that total approximately $52 billion in fiscal year 2014,” Durbin said. “As Secretary [Chuck] Hagel has made clear, further sequestration will start a wave of impacts on the people who keep our country safe. Civilian workers will be laid off, instead of simply being furloughed.”

Durbin and others also reiterated the view of Democrats and some Republicans that the fiscal 2014 Budget resolution should get to a House-Senate conference committee to come up with final budget levels, which has repeatedly been blocked by one group of Senate Republicans. He also expressed a hope to avoid a long-term continuing resolution, acknowledging that at least a short one will be needed.

“If you think that a CR is the answer to this, it is not,” Durbin said.

Of course, Congress is heading full speed ahead toward a debate over another such stopgap measure approaching Oct. 1. A point that became all the more clear Wednesday when House Appropriations Chairman Harold Rogers, R-Ky., criticized the move to delay floor consideration of that chamber’s Transportation-HUD spending bill.

“With this action, the House has declined to proceed on the implementation of the very budget it adopted just three months ago,”Rogers said in a statement. “Thus, I believe that the House has made its choice: sequestration — and its unrealistic and ill-conceived discretionary cuts — must be brought to an end.”

The Senate’s version of that same bill faces a test vote on limiting debate Thursday afternoon. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky is pushing opposition to the measure, citing the Transportation-HUD bill exceeding the budget levels provided under the Budget Control Act. It appears likely he will prevail in keeping the measure from achieving the 60 votes needed to limit debate.

Transportation-HUD Subcommittee Chairwoman Patty Murray made one last effort to win support in a floor speech Thursday.

“The only thing that can block the passage of this bill, the only way a bipartisan bill with the support of the majority could be stopped, is if Republican leaders whip their own members into filibustering a jobs and infrastructure bill many of those Republicans actually support,” the Washington Democrat said. “The choice before us is clear. And I urge my colleagues to make the right one. This vote isn’t about whether or not you support this exact bill, or agree with this exact spending level.”

  • Midwestmike

    There is only one Senator respected less than Lindsey Graham, its John McCain. I wonder if he’s enjoying being associated with such a low life. To use his own words “You screwed yourself” Mr. Graham.

  • Mann D. Lifeboats

    Well, “We screwed ourselves here” pretty much sums up the Congress’ attitude regarding themselves versus those they supposedly represent.

  • CashMcCall

    RINO screwup

  • QUALSOL70

    If I did this little research in my company..I’d fire myself but these career “idiots” stay forever. No Mr. Graham – again, you screwed us. We elected a group of IDIOTS..

  • Tom White

    well graham you idiot if you cant afford the wars then do what the rest a america wants ,for once, an get the hell out all the them. stop fighting these wars for Israel If the jews wanna go to war so bad let them fight their own fight for once

  • Leftcoastrocky

    Sequestration is a headwind on the U.S. economy, keeping unemployment at high numbers.

  • Leftcoastrocky

    Is the GOP going to be a governing party or just an obstruction party.

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