The Washington Post

McDonough: ‘We’ve not given up’ on averting sequester

White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough said Sunday that Presiden Obama has not given up on the prospect of averting the looming across-the-board spending cuts known as the sequester.

"Well we’ve not given up on this, Bob, and the reason we haven’t given up on it is because it’s going to have a real impact on middle class families," McDonough told Bob Schieffer on CBS News' "Face The Nation."

Senate Democrats proposed a plan last week to delay the threat of the deep cuts -- which are set to kick in March 1 if lawmakers do not act -- in part by raising taxes on millionaires. The White House issued a statement in support of the proposal, but top Democrats acknowledged that it faces tough odds.

Republicans have mainly opposed discussing new tax revenue, saying the matter was addressed in the deal to avert the "fiscal cliff," which included tax rate hikes on the wealthiest Americans.

"When you look what at Senate Democratic plan and the president’s plan – both very balanced plans that get some savings in this deficit fight from spending cuts, and some savings from increased revenues," McDonough said on "Face The Nation." "What our friends in the House have told us is that they will not even consider anything that includes increased revenues. Not even closing loopholes for corporate jets; closing loopholes for oil and gas companies."

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who last week expressed a possible willingness to consider supporting new tax revenue to avoid sequestration, on Sunday pressed Obama to negotiate with Republicans, and reiterated his openness to consider new tax revenues.

"I said that I would be glad to close some loopholes about these kinds of subsidies that are outrageous and disgraceful," McCain said, as he called on Obama to step up his leadership on the matter of sequestration.

On CBS, McDonough also underscored Obama's deficit reduction plan, saying: "Over the course of the last several months we’ve got agreement on $2.5 trillion in deficit reduction over the next 10 years. We’re ready to do another trillion-and-a-half to get to the $4 trillion mark that every economist in the country says we need to do to stabilize the debt problem."

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), who has said he thinks the sequester will happen, explained why on ABC's "This Week With George Stephanopoulos."

"The Senate hasn't passed a bill to replace the sequester. The president gave a speech showing that he'd like to replace it, but he hasn't put any details out there.  So that is why I conclude I believe it's going to take place," Ryan said.

Sean Sullivan has covered national politics for The Washington Post since 2012.

The Freddie Gray case

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Campaign 2016 Email Updates

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Get Zika news by email

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!
Show Comments
The Democrats debated Thursday night. Get caught up on the race.
The Post's Chris Cillizza on the Democratic debate...
On Clinton: She poked a series of holes in Sanders's health-care proposal and broadly cast him as someone who talks a big game but simply can't hope to achieve his goals.

On Sanders: If the challenge was to show that he could be a candidate for people other than those who already love him, he didn't make much progress toward that goal. But he did come across as more well-versed on foreign policy than in debates past.
The PBS debate in 3 minutes
We are in vigorous agreement here.
Hillary Clinton, during the PBS Democratic debate, a night in which she and Sanders shared many of the same positions on issues
South Carolina polling averages
Donald Trump leads in the polls as he faces rivals Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz heading into the S.C. GOP primary on Feb. 20.
South Carolina polling averages
The S.C. Democratic primary is Feb. 27. Clinton has a significant lead in the state, whose primary falls one week after the party's Nevada caucuses.
62% 33%
Fact Checker
Trump’s claim that his border wall would cost $8 billion
The billionaire's claim is highly dubious. Based on the costs of the Israeli security barrier (which is mostly fence) and the cost of the relatively simple fence already along the U.S.-Mexico border, an $8 billion price tag is simply not credible.
Pinocchio Pinocchio Pinocchio Pinocchio
Upcoming debates
Feb 13: GOP debate

on CBS News, in South Carolina

Feb. 25: GOP debate

on CNN, in Houston, Texas

March 3: GOP debate

on Fox News, in Detroit, Mich.

Campaign 2016
Where the race stands
Most Read



Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Close video player
Now Playing

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.