Tom Coburn: I Wouldn't Vote to Confirm Hagel

Sunday, 30 Dec 2012 12:59 PM

By Amy Woods

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Sen. Tom Coburn said on Sunday that he would not support a decision by President Barack Obama to nominate former Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel as the next Secretary of Defense.

Appearing on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” the Oklahoma Republican said Hagel is unqualified for the job.

“I cannot vote for Chuck Hagel,” he said. “He does not have the experience to manage a very large organization like the Pentagon.”

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Coburn also said the odds are against Congress coming to an end run around the fiscal cliff.

“I don’t think anybody knows what’s going to happen,” Coburn said. “The odds are that we’ve not seen the leadership on either side of the aisle to solve this problem, and why would we think that we’re going to see the leadership in the next 24 hours to solve the problem?”

While politicians bicker about raising taxes on the middle class and the wealthy, they should address a more important debate on spending, he said.

“No matter where we raise taxes, what’s going to happen to the money?” Coburn asked. “We’re going to grow the government with it. We’re not going to reduce the deficit. I have no problems . . . with saying those that are making more ought to contribute more, but where does the money go? And what do you do with the money?”

He said the United States fell off the fiscal cliff two years ago, which has caused the debt-to-GDP ratio to expand to 120 percent.

“We’re becoming Greece, and we have a government that we’re willing to pay the taxes for 65 percent of the cost of it,” he said.

“The basic fact is, is the government’s twice the size it was 11 years ago, and nobody in Washington is doing anything to fix the growth of government to where we have one that we can afford.”

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Coburn said if his oddsmaking is accurate, and the fiscal cliff is not avoided, the result will be a wake-up call for the citizenry.

“The American people are going to see what the real cost of their government is,” he said. “We have a government that we refuse to pay for.”

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