U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman vows to do all he can to make sure, when Congress returns to work in November, that $500 billion more isn't cut from the defense budget as part of a government sequestration set to begin in early January.
In a Wall Street Journal op-ed last week, Lieberman, I-Conn., warned that cutting defense by that amount over the next decade will weaken our military considerably as it tries to deal with current and future challenges. “Contrary to claims that the ‘tide of war is receding,'” he wrote, “our national security threats are becoming more complex and no less demanding or urgent.”
Why should Lieberman be concerned? After all, during his third debate with Mitt Romney, President Barack Obama said of sequestration: “It will not happen.”
That comment had members of the president's team scrambling the next day to explain what Obama really meant (a common practice in this administration). Republican Sen. John McCain made the point that it would take legislation to repeal sequestration — about $1 trillion worth of cuts in government spending over the next decade — and that would require some sort of agreement in Congress.
Speaking of Congress, the president also said sequestration “is not something that I've proposed. It is something that Congress has proposed.” That came as a surprise to many Republicans. Reporters at Politico reminded readers that during budget talks last year, the White House and Democrats in Congress “insisted that steep cuts to the Defense Department accompany the domestic spending reductions favored by the GOP. It may have been an ugly deal that no one liked, but it was bipartisan.”
McCain says he and other GOP senators “have been begging the president” to sit down and work out a deal. Lieberman is clearly on board. They understand that Obama's debate proclamation means nothing. Instead, only real work from both sides of the aisle can keep sequestration from happening.