Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said today that congressional negotiators are trying to break an impasse to stop massive defense sequestration cuts from going into effect five months from now, but chided President Obama for not helping in the urgent talks.
The looming cuts, the senator said at the Bloomberg Government Defense Conference, are “so devastating that the secretary of defense will not even contemplate the plans that are necessary to implement sequestration.”
“The president has to lead on a lot of things, in my view, and I would like to see him maybe call — at least call Boehner and McConnell and maybe others over to the White House and say, ‘Is there any common ground we have here?’ So far, that hasn’t happened,” McCain said, adding that that administration’s response was “irresponsible, but predictable.”
Some have estimated up to a million job losses in the defense industry should the sequestration — $492 billion in cuts on top of the $487 billion already being implemented — go forward.
“The world is rapidly changing and the world requires American leadership, which unfortunately in these days, particularly as far as Syria is concerned, is MIA,” McCain said.
On the subject of Syria, the senator said Obama made an “idiotic statement” in support of the Kofi Annan plan.
“The Kofi Annan plan failed weeks ago and was never going to have any chance of success. So, here we are, standing by, watching a massacre go on,” McCain said. “…I tell you, I’ve seen a lot in my life. But for the United States to stand by and the president of the United States not to say a word on behalf of these people is shameful.”
“Presidents lead,” the senator added. “Presidents lead.”