McCain: Sequestration Cuts to Defense ‘Unconscionable’

Sunday, 24 Feb 2013 10:40 AM

By Amy Woods

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Arizona Sen. John McCain said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union” the impending sequestration cuts — particularly those that impact the U.S. military — are “unconscionable” and should be averted.

The longtime Republican leader questioned the wisdom of making such “enormous reductions” to defense that will amount to 50 percent of the overall planned cuts.

“Across-the-board cuts are the worst and most cowardly way to approach this situation,” McCain said. “The president should be calling us over somewhere — Camp David, the White House, somewhere — and us sitting down and trying to avert these cuts.”

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He said $87 billion in reductions were made to the Department of Defense under Secretary Robert Gates, and another $487 billion in spending is on track to be slashed.

“We’ve spent too long on defense authorization and finding out what this country needs to secure this country without saying, ‘Hey, well, we’ll just let the president have flexibility’,” McCain said. “That’s not the answer. The answer is to prevent these reductions.”

On the topic of Cabinet nominees Chuck Hagel, for secretary of defense, and John Brennan, for CIA director, McCain said, “I don’t what to put a hold on anybody.”

McCain said he favors an “up-or-down vote” for Hagel and wants Brennan to answer more questions about the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2012.

“There are so many questions that are still out there, including what was the president doing the night Benghazi happened,” McCain said.

Regarding immigration and the pathway-to-citizenship bill he is crafting with seven other senators, McCain said both legal and illegal immigrants deserve a chance to become U.S. citizens.

“Just because they broke the law doesn’t mean they’re condemned forever to a twilight status,” he said. “Most Americans now realize we can’t have 11 million people in the twilight, in the shadows of America, forever.”

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