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Parties Point Fingers at Each Other in Spending Fight

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo
Sen. Lindsey Graham said on “Fox News Sunday” that the Senate ought to pass the House’s “reasonable” continuing resolution.

“Why should we rebuild schools in Iraq on the credit card but expect that rebuilding schools in Joplin, Missouri, at this point in time have to be paid for?” Warner asked, referring to a devastating tornado that hit Joplin this year.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, appearing on “Fox News Sunday,” said that he doesn’t believe the government will shut down and urged Reid to pass the House measure.

“The government is not going to shut down because most Americans want us to start to deal with the disasters in front of us and disasters to come; that is why we are trying to start to pay for things that we haven’t paid for before,” the South Carolina Republican said.

“The House proposal is reasonable,” he continued. “I would ask Harry Reid to take it.”

Graham said that if Democrats don’t like the House bill, they should offer an alternative that includes offsets they would prefer.

“You have to have priorities,” Graham said. “That is something we don’t seem to accept up here. The House version says that ... we are going to help people that have been affected by disasters, but we are going to start cutting the government in other places where the money is not so important. I support the idea of paying for this.”

Graham also reiterated his concerns with the deal to raise the debt ceiling, which created the Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction that is developing a plan to reduce the deficit.

He said he is troubled by the automatic cuts, including $600 billion to defense, that would be triggered if the panel fails to produce a deficit reduction package or if Congress fails to pass one.

“At the end of the day, if this commission fails, there is a trigger cutting defense by $600 billion if they can’t perform their job,” Graham said.

“I will introduce legislation to protect the Defense Department from devastating cuts,” he added. Secretary of Defense “Leon Panetta said when I asked him if you take $600 billion out of defense on top of what we are already trying to do, you will be shooting the country in the head.”

Graham’s bill would put in place a 5 percent across-the-board cut as a trigger, and he would cut pay to Members of Congress by 10 percent.

“I hope the super committee works, but if it fails, let’s don’t destroy the Defense Department,” Graham said.

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