Graham: Opponents of lifting military spending caps are 'a-holes'

Graham: Opponents of lifting military spending caps are 'a-holes'
© Getty Images

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamScarborough sounds alarm on political 'ethnic cleansing' after Trump rally The Hill's Morning Report: Trump walks back from 'send her back' chants GOP rattled by Trump rally MORE (R-S.C.) is predicting an end to budget caps next year so that cuts to military can be rolled back, and he indicated he is prepared for a fight to make that happen.

“If you’re going to fight fixing sequestration, you’re a complete a-hole,” he said. “If you want a fight over this, whether you’re Democrat or Republican, we’re going to have one hell of a fight because I’m not going to put up with this crap any longer. Come next year, we’re going to get a resolution.”

Graham’s comments came Monday, during a conference at the Center for a New American Security, where he was joined on stage by rankingSenate Armed Services Committee member Jack ReedJohn (Jack) Francis ReedSenate panel advances Pentagon chief, Joint Chiefs chairman nominees Democrats warm to idea of studying reparations Trump's pick to lead Pentagon glides through confirmation hearing MORE (D-R.I.).

Pentagon officials have warned that the budget caps, known as sequestration, and budget instability are a threat to national security.

The Pentagon has gotten temporary relief from the caps through a bipartisan budget agreement, but Defense Department leaders have voiced concern about returning to sequestration.

The fight over defense spending came to a head recently in the Senate, when the chamber voted down amendments to a defense policy bill that would have added to both defense and nondefense spending.

The defeat of the defense spending amendment prompted Graham to pledge that increasing defense spending would be his “No. 1 reason to live."

On Monday, both Graham and Reed urged an end to sequestration, arguing that the caps have harmed the military.

Should sequestration continue, Graham said he will have “really lost hope” for Congress and that Congress will have “really lost our way.”

Both Graham and Reed said the next president must be an impetus for change on sequestration.

“The next president, whoever he or she — most likely she — is going to be, needs to get these defense cuts set aside," Graham said, referencing presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonPoll: Majority of Democratic voters happy with their choices among 2020 contenders No presidential candidate can unite the country GOP lawmakers speak out against 'send her back' chants MORE.

Added Reed: “This is not just something that has to be done. This is the first thing that must be done. And I don’t think the window is long. I think this is something where the new administration has to come in ready to go on inauguration day.”

But Reed said he doesn’t see change coming without the issue being a focus in the presidential campaign, because the average person doesn’t pay attention to terms such as “sequestration.”

“Terms like sequestration, terms like automatic cuts, it’s not in their daily lives,” Reed said. “When you talk about raising my taxes, when you talk about cutting my benefits, that resonates.

“This has to be a primary focus of the presidential campaign because a presidential leadership will be key,” he added. “Unless this is the item that comes out of the campaign for president as the one that people think has to be accomplished, is a leading issue, you’ve got to do something, we won’t have the political force to do it.”