Sequester a 'failure of presidential leadership' by Obama?
Sen. Lamar Alexander sounds off
- Duration 5:46
- Date Mar 3, 2013
Sen. Lamar Alexander sounds off
Also in this playlist...
This transcript is automatically generated
Complete failure of presidential leadership that's what Republican senator Lamar Alexander is calling the sequestration cuts.
Senator Alexander joins us now live and senator start asking you Gene Sperling -- and that in -- view that the president is still reaching out to Democrats and Republicans.
What's your sense of what's going on.
Well I've just reached out to me but my sense is I really believe this is this in Mitt Romney.
Suggested that this is a colossal failure of presidential leadership for me this is the president sequester.
In the middle of 2011 he made a deal that he wants so badly to get through the election without debt ceiling issue.
He didn't want to touch the real problem which is.
Mandatory spending increases so -- made a deal to reduce spending by 2.2 trillion dollars and then he spent the last year doing nothing about it last month.
Going around the country campaigning against his own sequestered that's not the way present United States is supposed to -- More -- my understanding is that you voted for the budget control act which had this sequester framework built into it.
Now -- come to fruition and even though many people didn't think it would ever come to this do you regret voting for it.
No I don't regret voting for because it it gave us 2.2 trillion dollars of spending reductions the only thing I regret.
Is that we are not able to focus on the real problem the sequester is focused in these reductions are focused on the part of the budget that's pretty much under control.
National parks national defense National Laboratories the part that's not under control of destroying the rate of two or 3%.
Or two or three times inflation.
Is the mandatory.
Spending increased so that's the only regret I -- that between the president and congress he won't focus on that and we can get that done.
The president said this week that quote none of this is necessary referring to these cuts that were discussing now.
He says it's happening because of a choice by congressional Republicans.
Why wait do you bear any blame that the GOP Beers and where we've gotten two today.
I just can't understand this style presidential leadership I mean that the president takes no responsibility for his own sequester.
He's had a year to fix it he could still fix it today he could send us a planned tomorrow.
And we can have backing him.
A result within a couple of weeks he could suggest that we spread it out over.
Just the discretionary part of the budget that be a 2% cut he could suggest that we.
Spread it out over the whole budget that would be or that would be a 7% cut he could we we could spread out over the whole budget that -- 2% cut he could do what senator -- I've done.
Which is suggested trillion dollar reduction in spending increases on mandatory spending which will be a -- to seniors.
And a -- -- young people because you make the program solvent and and -- the possibility of adept at.
We can't pay but he's doing none of that he's accepting no responsibilities not acting like a president of the United States is supposed to.
Back on your side of the hill and the senate there's been no budget past four years now.
Senate majority leader Harry Reid has not moved one.
The rare book that has happened on the hill with respect -- I think about a president's budget.
In which he got zero votes from Republicans or Democrats.
Up for that particular piece of legislation.
Why do you think with all of those factors in play it seems that Republicans are taking so much of the heat publicly.
For where we are right now fiscally.
Well I'm not sure but but.
I wish I I wish I could give you the answer to that the problem is the president has profited politically so far.
From blaming other people for problems he -- cause -- not producing a budget by ignoring the real problem which is mandatory spending increases.
But I predict that will last for -- Colossal failures of presidential leadership.
Will be a blot on his legacy in every great crisis in our history has been solved by presidential leadership or not at all I think he's going to regret deeply.
Missing this opportunity to it to lead right after he was elected by a good margin.
And putting this problem behind -- the problem of mandatory spending increases that's the problem and then -- get on his agenda and we could argue about that.
Aren't speaking of spending you know that there are more budget battles looming the next one that comes -- with the continuing resolution which essentially.
Keeps the government funded and running at the end of the month that will -- apps and some type of renewal the president has suggested.
He will allow congress to handle that separately from the sequester issue there conservatives on the house side who've written today house speaker John Boehner saying.
They want something in return for that continuing resolution they don't want to simply put together funding measure.
As it seems even to suggest that he is going to go down that path and they want something in return they want to see are to be used.
A four leverage for negotiation.
Where do you stand on that.
Well what here's here's what I think we should do with the continuing resolution which is -- spending plan for the next six months.
The president this week should send us a plan.
Q2 to replace the sequester -- equal amount of spending reductions that spread across the whole budget.
That would be about a two or 3% cut in would avoid most of the pain that he keeps talking about.
We could enact we could put that on the senate floor within a week we can -- it and get it to him within two weeks and we could fund the government for the rest of the year.
-- of that plan and avoid the sequester.
And still do a reasonable job of reducing spending same amount.
Except the problem is when he really should do he should send us a plan to reduce the growth of entitlement spending because -- the mandatory spending increases.
That are causing all this problem with a mandatory spending reductions.
Tonight senator Lamar Alexander Republican of Tennessee sir thank you for your time -- -- in back here in Washington.
Thank you --