In a speech to the GOP convention in Tampa on Wednesday, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) laid the blame for looming, across-the-board cuts to defense programs at President Obama’s feet.
“We can’t afford another $500 billion in cuts to our defense budget — on top of the nearly $500 billion in cuts that the president is already making,” McCain said. “[Obama’s] own secretary of defense has said that cutting our military by nearly $1 trillion would be ‘devastating.’ And yet, the president is playing no leadership role in preventing this crippling blow to our military.”McCain voted for the Budget Control Act — which resolved the debt limit standoff — in August 2011. It included a mechanism called sequestration — unacceptable and untargeted cuts to defense and domestic spending — to force Republicans and Democrats to pass bipartisan legislation to reduce the deficit.
But the GOP’s ongoing opposition to even trivially higher taxes on high income people has thwarted a negotiated compromise. Republicans want to swap out a year’s worth of the sequester’s cuts and replace them with cuts to food stamps and other safety net programs. But Obama’s insisted he will veto legislation rolling back the sequester unless it’s replaced with legislation to reduce the deficit that includes both spending cuts and higher revenues over the next 10 years.