Republican Senator John McCain signaled support today for some kind of revenue boost to avoid automatic defense cuts slated to take effect in January.
Citing a Republican deficit-reduction plan last year that included new tax revenue, McCain said, “That could serve as a blueprint.” The Arizona senator, the ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, spoke at a Bloomberg Government conference on defense strategy in Washington.
The Pentagon, which already plans to slow spending by $487 billion over ten years, would have to make another $500 billion in cuts in the next decade unless Congress comes up with an alternative deal on deficit reduction.
Representative Norm Dicks, a Democrat from Washington who sits on the House Appropriations Committee, said he’d like to see “positive steps taken” on a legislative fix before the November election.
Many lawmakers have said such a fix probably won’t happen until a lame-duck session of Congress after the election. Dov Zakheim, a former Pentagon comptroller, echoed that assessment today at the conference.
“I don’t think this Congress can cut the deal,” he told lawmakers in a panel discussion. “If you could cut the deal, you already would have done so.”