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Sen. Warner: Public does not realize how ‘stupid’ sequester cuts are

“I don’t think the public realizes how stupid these cuts are,” said Warner on “CBS This Morning” of the across-the-board spending cuts. “In many places we will end up cutting things that will cost the taxpayer more money than the cuts.”

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“Let me give you three quick examples. In the navy there are 975 separate line items - each of those will be cut. Each of these programs are not of equal value to the taxpayer,” said Warner. “In some places, we’ll actually even have to cut long-term contracts, volume-based contracts, which means we’ll have to pay more for ships and planes. We’re also going to be cutting back on NIH grants not being able to finish, meat inspectors, so the price of meat will go up.”

Meanwhile, Washington appears deadlocked on a path to avoiding sequestration. President Obama and congressional Democrats are pushing for a replacement bill introduced in the Senate that would offset the sequester with a combination of targeted spending cuts and tax hikes. But Republicans, who accepted higher tax as part of January's "fiscal cliff" deal, say they will not offset the sequester with more taxes.

The White House has launched a campaign to rally support for Democrats' position, highlighting the real-world effects of the cuts on the public, in hopes of forcing Republicans to the negotiating table.

Warner suggested it was unlikely that GOP lawmakers would change their position and expressed dismay that Congress has been unable to broker a deal. 

“I’ve got to take the Speaker and the Republican Senate leader at this their word. They said no eleventh-hour deals this time. They didn’t want to deal with the White House,” said Warner said. 

“I don’t get it,” he added. “We should have been able to deal with this actually earlier.”