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October 1, 2014

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GOP senators head to Nevada to warn of budget cuts

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Holly Ramer / AP

U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., speaks during a town hall meeting Tuesday, July 31, 2012 in Merrimack, N.H. McCain and fellow Republican Sens. Kelly Ayotte and Lindsey Graham previously held town hall meetings in Florida, North Carolina and Virginia to describe what they called the devastating consequences of automatic, across-the-board reductions in projected defense spending. They plan to travel to Nellis Air Force Base on Monday and hold a town hall in North Las Vegas to discuss the impact of the cuts.

WASHINGTON — A Republican tour warning of impending military cuts is hitting another presidential battleground state, Nevada.

Three members of the Senate Armed Services Committee — John McCain of Arizona, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire — plan to travel to Nellis Air Force Base on Monday and hold a town hall in North Las Vegas to discuss the impact of the cuts. Their offices planned to announce the trip on Friday.

"President Obama's own secretary of defense called the looming defense cuts under budget sequestration 'devastating,' likening them to 'shooting ourselves in the head,' and yet to date, Congress and the Obama administration have done nothing to stop them from going into effect," the senators said in a statement.

Last week, the three lawmakers traveled to the battleground states of Florida, North Carolina, Virginia and New Hampshire to sound a similar warning.

The tour is designed to increase political pressure on Obama and Congress to avert the automatic, across-the-board cuts of $110 billion to defense and domestic programs on Jan. 2. The Nevada stop also raises the political stakes for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.

The GOP lawmakers have invited Reid and Nevada's other senator, Republican Dean Heller, to attend the town hall.

Reid and other Democrats argue that Republicans easily could spare the military from the reductions in projected spending if they agree to raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans.

"By refusing to replace cuts with revenues, Republicans are putting millionaires ahead of the middle class and the military," Reid has said.

Obama and congressional Republicans agreed to the reductions last August as part of a deficit-cutting agreement. A special bipartisan congressional committee was tasked with producing a plan to cut spending by $1.2 trillion over 10 years, or automatic cuts would kick in. The panel failed to reach a consensus and the countdown to the automatic cuts, known as sequester, began.

Graham said in a recent interview that Republicans are partly responsible.

"The failure of the supercommittee had to be at least anticipated, and the penalty to put the military at risk, devastating the finest military in our nation's history, is so out of sync with the party of Ronald Reagan. It's disturbing," he said. "We share the blame for this, but at the end of the day we have to fix it."

Groups of senators have discussed possible alternatives, but critical players aren't involved in the negotiations. A solution is unlikely before the November elections, leaving the issue to a lame-duck congressional session later this year.

Meanwhile, the Congressional Budget Office issued a new estimate that the potential sequester would require a $94 billion cut from day-to-day agency budgets funded through appropriations bills. That's a modest $4 billion cut from its most recent estimate. More details are due when the CBO releases its new budget and deficit estimates later this month.

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  1. Wow... so the Republicans are coming to complain about budget cuts that they caused. When they demanded budget cuts as part of the "deal" to raise the debt ceiling (which is probably unconstitutional anyway), what did they think would happen? Instead of dealing with the budget in an even, balanced way (budget cuts and tax increases), they want the budget balanced just on budget cuts alone.

    The defense budget is about a quarter of the budget-- did these geniuses expect to not have to cut it? Not a single "Budget cut only" person I've talked to has a plan to cut a trillion dollars from the federal budget. Not a one. It's going to take pain (and compromise) on both sides-- reforms to Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid, as well as increased taxes.

  2. Exactly. The only action more devastating in the realm of conservatism is using taxes to pay for the military. They would prefer to borrow the money and wait for the economy to pick up, similar to Bush's plan.

  3. Me personally I don't think we need any more 20 billion dollar airplanes those could be cut and in the words of John Boehner if we lose a few thousand jobs so be it.

  4. I'm a retired U.S. Navy Veteran living in Las Vegas.

    These GOoPers are coming here and warning us about military budget cuts, which, in their narrow minded definition, only pertain to building new ships, planes, tanks and other military hardware.

    But, in the same breath, they will make no mention at all about increasing the pay for our active duty military, nor will they even promote the idea of a COLA raise on retired military pay, nor do they even care if the disabled who come back from war broken and battered get the specialized care they need, nor are they concerned with any benefit/pay that would be of help to the people who populate the military, before or now.

    They are a bunch of hypocrites. They blast away at unions and loudly proclaim they hate public jobs. But, oh.... Wait. Not the military. That's one public area we need to keep. Tea/Republicans always seem to cherry pick what they like and don't, even when it don't make sense, they make up something or other. Buncha hypocrites.

    Go away. You're not needed here in Nevada. You are only pursuing your own greedy interests. You show all indications you could care less about Nevada. We won't be used. Save that stuff for somewhere else.

    Anyways, this all stinks of inviting Heller and helping with his reelection chances. After all, he's appointed and needs someone to desperately campaign for him. Because he cannot stand on his own merits with his dismal voting record. Nobody believes him.

    As a side note, I am completely and utterly disgusted with Senator McCain. He should know better than to play stupid silly political games like this that only benefit his stupid Tea/Republicans, while it throws all the retired and active duty military under the bus. Nowhere is he mentioning to help the people that populate the military and ensure the freedom this country enjoys. Instead he only wants the money for tanks, ships and planes and the military industrial complex. In his stupid world, the military is expendable. And he should be ashamed. Shame, Senator McCain, shame.

  5. Since defense industry jobs are expensive "casinokid" , why not take that 20 billion and spend it where we will put more people to work? Clean energy, rebuilding infrastructure to minimize energy use, public light rail, etc. would all be forward thinking. We can't have that in conservative land though!

  6. It is a shame the way our country has been divided. It shouldn't be democrats or republicans, IT'S WE THE PEOPLE. Our government wastes way too much money. We need a strong military. We need to continue to take care of our veteran's. Quit giving our tax money to those who don't deserve it, entitlements or big business who go bankrupt. Both sides of the isle are guilty. They say and do what ever it takes to progress their agendas instead of considering WE THE PEOPLE. WE THE PEOPLE need to make a change in the way the government operates. Don't vote a party, vote a person. Do some research on the candidates and make an informed decision. We need politicians that are going to work together for WE THE PEOPLE. It's easy to choose a side and vote a straight party ticket. It takes guts to research the candidates and vote for the person who truly has the best interest of America at heart. AMERICANS! Not republican or democrat. Lets vote into office good Americans.

  7. Not to be picky, Darthfrodo, but Janus was a Roman, not a Greek God :-)

    And anyone who wants to be taken seriously in a political discussion shouldn't use name-calling. For example, calling President Obama "Osama", or calling Governor Romney "Mittens" makes your argument seem childish.

    I honestly believe that both Gov. Romney and President Obama are trying to do what they think is best for our country. We need to learn to disagree while maintaining respect for each other.

  8. World Expenditures on Defense: $1,777,500 million

    Canada: $24,700 million (3.5% of US)
    Australia: $26,700 million (3.8% of US)
    China: $142,900 million (20% of US)
    Russia: $71,900 million (10% of US)

    USA: $711,400 million (41% of world expenses)

    The economies of Canada and Australia are booming.
    Australia can't find enough engineers for it's projects.

    After $4 trillion in added debt, the Iraqis and Afghans don't want the US in their country. Get the hint?