Republican Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) says that Washington is a depressing place to work right now.
“I had a much better sense of accomplishment in the past,” he said on Friday.
While he admitted to being a “partisan Republican” during the negotiation process, the former Republican presidential nominee blamed President Obama for allowing the cuts to defense. "I think everybody can share some of the blame," he said.
“I think the president should be leading. And we should be sitting down and really ready to do whatever is necessary to prevent, in my view, a blow to national defense,” McCain continued.
Meetings with congressional leaders at the White House failed to mitigate the $85 billion in across-the-board spending cuts to defense and non-defense spending that had been agreed to in 2011. The president activated those cuts Friday night.
Speaking about those failed negotiations on Friday, Obama said that the cuts must be replaced as soon as possible with “smart spending cuts, entitlement reform [and] tax reform that makes the tax code more fair for families and businesses without raising tax rates.”
“I do know that there are Republicans in Congress who privately, at least, say that they would rather close tax loopholes than let these cuts go through. I know that there are Democrats who’d rather do smart entitlement reform than let these cuts go through,” he continued. “So there is a caucus of common sense up on Capitol Hill. It’s just -- it’s a silent group right now, and we want to make sure that their voices start getting heard.”
McCain is hopeful that Congress can work together on a number of issues, pointing to the recent bipartisan immigration reform proposals.
“I can assure you we're making progress on immigration reform. Republicans and Democrats, eight of us are working together,” he said. “There are some areas that I think we are working together, but this one, obviously, is now the transcendent issue.”