Believing it too late to prevent the looming $85 billion in immediate federal budget cutbacks, Sen. Lindsay Graham is now urging his colleagues to reach a long-term deal that will address the deficit.
Appearing on CNN Monday, Graham agreed with anchor Wolf Blitzer that such a deal was unlikely before sequestration happens on March 1. “No, so sequestration’s gonna happen. Hopefully, the pressure from sequestration will wake us up to the ‘big deal.'”
Graham has previously made it clear that he opposes automatic reductions in the Department of Defense budget, which accounts for half of the $1.2 trillion. He said he is worried that it would involve cuts to modernization and readiness programs.
Sen. Graham met with President Obama Tuesday as the White House on Tuesday. While the topic was immigration reform, Graham said he planned to talk to the President about the deficit, as well. “Both parties need to grow up,” he said, “We need to find a chance to do the ‘big deal.’ I’ll challenge the President… let’s do things that will straighten out the long-term indebtedness of the country.”
He also reiterated that he would be willing to “raise revenues” by closing tax loopholes and credits, as long as Democrats agreed to address spending on “entitlement” programs like Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security.