Reid: Sequester should go forward unless GOP gives ground on taxes

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) told reporters Tuesday that automatic spending cuts known as the sequester should go forward unless Republicans agree to raise taxes.

Reid said he would not agree to any package that replaces the sequester with only spending cuts.

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“We have a law that’s in effect. It’s call sequestration. Those cuts will go forward. They’re all cuts. I think we need some revenue to take the pressure off everybody. The American people agree with me, and until there’s some agreement on revenue, I believe we should just go ahead with the sequester,” Reid said.

Reid panned a proposal floated by Senate Republicans to give the administration more flexibility to manage the impact of the $85 billion in automatic cuts.

“Republicans are under the false concept that this so-called 'flexibility,' which is a nice-sounding word, gives the bureaucrats who would wind up doing this more money. It gives them no more money. Zero,” he said.

Reid said if President Obama had more flexibility to manage the cuts to defense, he would likely target $7 billion worth of add-ons from members of Congress. But he said that would still leave the administration well short of the spending cuts needed to achieve to offset the sequester.

Reid said that is probably why Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), a leading proponent of the military in the GOP conference, does not support the Republican alternative.

“It gives the White House more power than they have now,” Reid said. “We have already given up — because of the Republicans — earmarking. Now they want to give the president more power? No wonder McCain opposes this.”