Sen. Pat Toomey says Dems torpedoed debt panel to protect Obama

Supercommittee member Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) accused Democrats on Monday of torpedoing the deficit supercommittee because a success would have “stepped on” President Obama’s campaign narrative.

Speaking Monday on CNBC’s "Squawk Box," Toomey said there’s “something to” suggestions that Democrats had an incentive to see the supercommittee fail.

“That goes to the asymmetry of the incentives and I think there was something to that,” Toomey said. “The president’s fundamental campaign message was to run against Congress — never mind the fact that half of Congress is controlled by the Democrats, but that’s his purpose, and certainly an agreement in this committee would have stepped on that narrative for the president.”

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Toomey also suggested that some Democrats on the supercommittee were willing to negotiate with Republicans not to avoid the consequences of a failed committee, but rather “for their own personal satisfaction of having done something important.”

“That feeling wasn’t strong enough for them to overcome the left wing of their caucus screaming for big tax increases and 'don’t touch the entitlements,' which was the message they heard from that part of their party and unfortunately ultimately listened to,” he said.

The supercommittee’s failure last week to reach an agreement on at least $1.2 trillion in deficit cuts triggered automatic across-the-board spending cuts, about half of which will be taken from the Pentagon’s budget.


Toomey said Democrats weren’t motivated to reach a deal because the automatic cuts triggered by the panel’s failure were unfairly weighted toward programs that are important to Republicans.

“There was an asymmetry in the motivation,” Toomey told Townhall Radio. “If you just look at the sequester, let’s face it, there are a lot of Democrats whose lifelong ambition has been to cut defense spending.”

Toomey has said that he will look to “change the configuration” of the cuts to protect defense spending.

Obama has said that he will veto any attempt to circumvent the automatic cuts.