Rep. James E. Clyburn, a member of the defunct debt-reduction “supercommittee,” said Tuesday he is open to redoing the automatic spending cuts set to take place in early 2013 as a result of the group’s failure — a position at odds with the White House.
The South Carolina Democrat, when asked by MSNBC if he would be willing to make changes to the $1.2 trillion “sequester” cuts as part of ongoing negotiations on Capitol Hill to extend the payroll tax holiday, answered, “Yes, I would.”
Mr. Clyburn said that despite a statute already on the books that calls for the automatic cuts, divided between defense programs and domestic spending, including a portion of Medicare, “I don’t think that we’re locked in to sequester being in its current format.”
When MSNBC host Chuck Todd pointed that Mr. Clyburn’s position is contrary to those of President Obama — who has threatened to veto any bill that would undo the automatic cut unless they were offset with tax increases or different spending cuts — the congressman didn’t flinch.
“It won’t be the first time that I’ve been at odds with the White House,” he said. “There are times when the way we do things legislatively may not square up with an administrative way to do it, but that doesn’t mean that we ought not try to find a way,” he said.
Many Republicans have pressed to change or drop the automatic cuts, half of which would target the Pentagon. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has also warned about the impact of the loss of $700 billion in funding if the sequester is upheld.