Editor’s Note: Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va. and former U.S. Representative Steve LaTourette, R-Ohio, join WTOP’s Capitol Hill correspondent Dave McConnell for “Ask the Lawmakers” 10 a.m. Friday, Feb. 15
WASHINGTON – While Congress attempts to stave off the devastating across-the-board spending cuts known as sequestration, Republican Sen. Rand Paul says it wouldn’t be such a bad idea if the sequester goes through.
“I think the sequester has to go through,” Paul, R-Ky., told WTOP Thursday morning. “People need to realize the sequester is not really a cut in spending. It’s a cut in the rate of growth of spending.”
He adds that a new proposal by Senate Democrats to avoid sequestration with a mix of spending cuts and new tax revenue is a bad idea.
“Another dumb idea,” said Paul, who on Tuesday delivered the tea party response to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address. “They just raised taxes three months ago. Did they not get enough of a fix then? We’ve got to cut spending.”
In response, Virginia Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., says allowing sequestration to take effect March 1 would be “a stupid way to cut.”
“Sequestration was set up to be the stupidest way possible to cut,” he told WTOP Thursday. “It cuts every component of government, regardless of whether the progam works or doesn’t work.”
As a result, the government will be breaking multiple contracts, he says.
“We’re going to furlough government contractors one day a week. That’s going to have a ripple effect across the whole capital region’s economy,” Warner said.
Paul maintains that any tax hike is a bad idea.
“The only real stimulus that ever works is leaving more money in the economy, which means lowering taxes,” he said.
“Cutting the rate of growth of spending is absolutely a good idea. I don’t think it will hurt the economy one bit,” Paul added.
The sequester would drain $85 billion from the Pentagon and domestic programs, with the D.C. region feeling the pinch the hardest.
“The idea of ‘plague every house,’ it may be a good political soundbyte but it doesn’t have any connection to anybody who’s ever done a budget, run a business or knows how to operate an enterprise,” Warner said.
He said he hopes the Democratic plan is successful, but if not, then cuts should be done in a less devastating manner.
“There is blame enough to go around for both parties. Democrats (have) got to be more willing to do entitlement reform. Republicans (have) got to be willing to do more revenues,” said Warner.
“Even areas like defense need to be cut, but there’s a smart way and a stupid way to cut them. We set up the most stupid way.”
WTOP’s Meera Pal and The Associated Press contributed to this report. Follow @WTOP on Twitter.