Coats: Sequester Is Wrong Approach, but Best Chance at Spending Cuts
Automatic across-the-board cuts in federal spending are less than two weeks away, and Indiana Senator Dan Coats says he and other Republicans are prepared to let those cuts take effect.
Coats calls the sequester a terrible way to address the soaring budget deficit, and notes he opposed the deal which made the cuts automatic if Congress and the White House couldn't reach a broader agreement to reduce the debt. He says it's a bad idea to cut defense spending by the same percentage as programs which may be entirely unnecessary.
As recently as December, Republicans were pressing for an agreement to prevent those defense cuts. The deal to avert the fiscal cliff delayed the sequester by two months.
But Congress is no closer to a spending deal, and Coats says Republicans have concluded the sequester is the only leverage they have to force President Obama to swallow spending cuts. He compares the looming deadline to the New Year's expiration of the Bush tax cuts, when Republicans acquiesced in letting the cuts expire for the wealthiest taxpayers to avoid the automatic expiration of all the cuts. This time, a failure to act plays into Republicans' stance instead of the president's.