Transcript: GOP Sen. James Inhofe says Obama’s plan to avert sequestration is a “non-starter”

Transcribed & edited by Jenny Jiang

Transcript of remarks by Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) on sequestration at a press briefing on Feb. 6, 2013:

…Let me just mention a couple of things here. One is for 14 months we’ve called on the President to recognize the impact on the sequestration. I think it’s been intentionally held down so people don’t realize how bad it could really be.

And as long ago – as two years ago when Sen. Jon Kyl and Sen. [Kelly] Ayotte got together with the House committee and looked at what is coming up and what we’re going to be able to do about it. That was kind of the beginning of all this.

Unfortunately, when the President came up with a plan yesterday – and I saw the plan. I saw that 25% domestic; 25% defense and 50% tax increases. It was a non-starter. I think he knew that.

And just this morning, I think it was in the Politico – a press report just this morning that the President has apparently instructed his budget office to restrict the release of information on the devastating impacts of sequestration so not build momentum in Congress to fix it. And according to Politico, this has infuriated some members of the Appropriations Committees into maybe having hearings.

But there’s no way to delay sequestration until the end of the year, but there is now to do it. And I applaud the House committee, Kelly Ayotte for the work that they’ve done and that’s what this is all about today. This is a way of doing it without cutting defenses, without cutting domestic, and without raising taxes.

If sequester is allowed to take place, the continuing resolution is not fixed, the Department of Defense stands to waste billions of dollars. I like the way that Admiral Winnefeld said it the other day – the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. He said – and this is a quote – he said there could be for the first time in his career – his long career – instances where we may be asked to respond to a crisis, we may have to say we cannot do it.

Well, I would like to say that where I’m really pleased with the committee that we have the minority in the Senate. We have a lot of talent there. We’re going to use all that talent. We have people that are heading up our six committees – Sen. Sessions, McCain, Graham, Ayotte, Wicker, Fischer, and others on the committee. So it’s going to be my strategy – and it has been in the past – to use this talent to make sure that they’re the ones who are going to be driving this and this certainly is not going to be a one-man show.


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