Tags: McCain | debt | deal | defense

McCain: I'd Have to 'Swallow Hard' on Defense Cuts

Monday, 01 Aug 2011 11:01 AM

By Hiram Reisner

Arizona Sen. John McCain says he will vote for the compromise debt-ceiling deal, but he would have to “swallow hard” in order to accept the defense cuts that might be required. However, McCain also said on CBS’ “The Early Show” today that he believes the cuts will not be necessary in the end.

Under the proposal, about $600 billion in Pentagon budget cuts would be triggered if Congress does not accept recommendations from the special committee mandated to evaluate status of the debt.

“I am very concerned about the defense spending side of it. I wouldn’t have put that in there. I probably will have to swallow hard,” the Republican senator said. “But I also don’t believe it will come to that, in that I believe that this select committee — they’ll come up with some pretty good and viable solutions — I’m convinced."

Story continues below video.

"I think both sides will put their best people on it and people with credibility,” and they will come up with solutions that do not require defense cuts, he said.

The process of reaching an agreement was extremely difficult and “very bad,” McCain said.

“But I think the overwhelming majority of us realized that we were not going to let the government shut down,” he said. “The markets were telling us, the American people were telling us . . . so I was always kind of optimistic.

“But rather than me saying who won and who lost — there’ll be plenty of time for that — I think the important thing for us is to go ahead and get this thing done,” he said. “It does have significant advantages [in] reducing the deficit more than we are raising the debt limit — no tax increases was important to us.”

McCain was asked why agreements such as the debt deal always come down to the 11th hour.

“It’s the way democracy works, unfortunately, that it always seems to be that we don’t act until the deadline is reached,” McCain said. “And, you know it is so unfair to the American people.”

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