Long also downplayed the effects of the sequester and said people he's met in Missouri are not feeling the pain of the cuts.

"I think that's different than it could be in some parts of the country, but we haven't seen any measurable effect here at all," he said.

Long's comments were made just days after Congress voted to shift money to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to spare air traffic controllers from being furloughed under the sequester. That vote was seen as a victory for Republicans, as it took money from elsewhere in the Department of Transportation to avoid furloughs that were already causing flight delays.

Democrats, in contrast, have been pushing for new taxes to help offset the sequester. Some Democrats also argued that Congress should pass a broader bill to mitigate the sequester, citing reduced services for children and lower-income Americans.