Sens. John McCain and Kelly Ayotte prepare to speak at a news conference Wednesday to decry automatic spending cuts that they say will hurt the military.
Kyl was joined at his press conference by Senate Armed Services ranking member John McCain (Ariz.) and Sens. Lindsey Graham (S.C.) and Kelly Ayotte (N.H.). But they did not offer many details and instead sought to lay down a marker that they will pursue this in the coming year.
The Senators said they would look to attach their proposed cuts to other legislative vehicles, a signal that they intend a long-running effort.
“It will probably be introduced as a [stand-alone] bill, but it may be that it actually passes as an amendment to something or as part of another bill that is going to be passing,” Kyl said. “We just want this to get done however it can get done. ... We just want to avoid the sequester.”
Kyl added that the Senators will be collecting proposed cuts from items agreed to in the super committee, the deficit reduction group led by Vice President Joseph Biden, as well as a proposal put forth by Republican Sen. Tom Coburn (Okla.).
“Spectrum auction, land sales, [increased] fees to Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, things of that sort,” Kyl said.
Graham said he was opposed to the sequester idea from its inception because it doesn’t make sense to punish the military if Congress does not do its job.
“For a Congress that is known for really ill-conceived ideas, this one takes the cake,” Graham said.
“The idea that if you fail to do the most minimum task, [then] let’s gut the military,” Graham continued. “Who thought that would be a good idea?”
Graham said he believes if the sequester takes effect it could result in layoffs of soldiers who have fought for the nation.
“It offends the hell out of me that we would even consider that. These men and women have gone out of their way to protect us,” he said. “If you are going to fire anyone, fire us and keep the soldiers. They are doing a better job for our country.”
McCain pointed out that the cuts would come on top of the $450 billion in cuts over 10 years mandated by the deal to raise the debt ceiling. But he added that defense spending would not be held sacrosanct.
“We will include efficiencies to be made in defense spending in our proposal but not anywhere near the magnitude of those that would be required by this idiotic process that we just completed,” McCain said.
McCain and Kyl voted for the debt deal in August that established the super committee and the sequester, while Ayotte and Graham opposed it.
From left, Lisa Peng, daughter of Peng Ming, Grace Ge Geng, daughter of Gao Zhisheng, and Ti-Anna Wang, daughter of Wang Bingzhang, hold pictures of their imprisoned fathers during a House Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations hearing in the Rayburn House Office Building titled “Their Daughters Appeal to Beijing: ‘Let Our Fathers Go!’”
Each year since 1990, CQ Roll Call has reviewed the financial disclosures of all 541 senators, representatives and delegates to determine the 50 richest members of Congress. This year's report, derived from forms covering the calendar year 2012, shows it took a net worth of $6.67 million to crack the exclusive club.