McCain vows to nullify defense cuts if they’re triggered
Sen. John McCain thinks there’s an obvious solution to the sweeping defense cuts that will be automatically triggered in 2013 if the congressional supercommittee fails to come to a deficit agreement: Congress should simply overturn them, and he’ll help lead the charge. On Thursday, a reporter asked the Arizona Republican to react to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s recent warning that the triggered cuts would do “catastrophic damage” to national security.
“If there’s a failure on the part of the supercommittee, we will be among the first on the floor to nullify that provision. Congress is not bound by this. If something is passed, we can reverse it,” McCain responded.
But then what’s the purpose of creating a trigger, if Congress can simply overturn the budget cuts, another reporter asked. McCain simply said: “I didn’t agree with the trigger being created to start with. So I have no ownership of that.”
Congress watchers have already pointed out that the “automatic cuts” in the trigger are anything but automatic, as the Huffington Post’s Ryan Grim has explained at length. Grim quotes Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) saying that it is, in fact, “technically possible” for Congress to pass future legislation to overturn the cuts — even before they’re scheduled to go into effect. But McCain is one of the first legislators to vow explicitly that that’s what he’s planning to do if the trigger goes into effect.