U.S. Rep. Tom Graves (R-GA-14), member of the House Appropriations Committee, issued the following statement on the $85 billion sequester for fiscal year 2013 set to start tomorrow, March 1:
"President Obama's campaign for another tax increase on families and businesses is preventing a deal to replace the sequester with smarter spending cuts. It is wrong for the president to threaten my constituents with higher taxes when Washington continues to waste billions of dollars every year on luxury conferences, unused buildings, frivolous research, improper payments and a host of other abuses. Since the vast majority agrees that cutting waste should come before any cuts to important programs - such as our military installations in Georgia -- I believe it's possible for a deal to be reached sometime in March.
"However, I want to be clear that raising taxes to replace spending cuts, or reducing the size of the cuts, will not be an option. Whether done smartly or stupidly, the United States can manage shaving off a mere 2% of its $3.5 trillion budget. A government that is nearly $17 trillion in debt should be doing far more to repair its financial situation.
"I provide that context not to belittle the potential impact of the sequester on some families, but to be a rational counterweight to President Obama's outrageous scare tactics. Rather than work with anyone to solve the debt problem, the president has acted like a Mayan doomsdayer, traveling the country to scare children, teachers, defense industry workers and those dedicated to our public safety. The American people deserve better. It's time for the president to take off the political hat and lead on debt reduction."
Rep. Graves voted against the Budget Control Act (BCA) in 2011, which raised the debt limit and established sequestration if a Congressional "super committee" failed to reach a debt reduction deal. In an August 1, 2011, statement about his vote against the bill, Rep. Graves explained that he thought it was a bad deal to grant President Obama the largest debt limit increase in history of $2.1 trillion in exchange for the promise of smaller spending cuts in the future.
In the time since the BCA passed, the super committee failed, the sequester was delayed and the budget cuts for 2013 were reduced. Meanwhile, the national debt has risen from $14.3 trillion to $16.6 trillion.