A sequester is inevitable, U.S. Rep. Tom Cole said Sunday, noting that President Barack Obama hasn't offered any alternatives to the across-the-board spending cuts to trim the federal budget.
“Look, this was a presidential suggestion back in 2011, an idea, and yet the president himself hasn't put out any alternatives,” the Oklahoma Republican said during a roundtable discussion on ABC's “This Week With George Stephanopoulos” Sunday.
Cole, however, noted that House Republicans have twice passed legislation to deal with the budget, “once as early as last May, again after the election in December” but that the “Senate's never picked up either of those bills, never offered their own thing.”
House Republicans won't accept new revenues as part of a sequester deal, Cole insisted.
“The president accepted no spending cuts back in the fiscal cliff deal 45 days ago, so you get no spending cuts back then, then you're going to get no revenue now,” Cole said.
Minnesota Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison, also appearing on the Sunday show, blamed Republicans for the sequester because he insisted that they refused to increase the debt limit in 2011 without corresponding spending cuts.
Meanwhile, Ellison said that the sequester will put 600,000 people out of work.
“It’s going to do everything opposite from what your party says that they want,” he said. “It’s going to increase unemployment, it's going to increase uncertainty — it's going to be a problem.”
Cole also dismissed a suggestion that his party is facing an “existential crisis,” saying the notion is “overdone.”
“We didn’t do badly in the election,” Cole said. “The president won with less than he was elected by in  . . . We held the House. We have 30 governors. So the idea that this is some existential crisis, I think, is really overdone right now.”
Cole, though, acknowledged that the party should be “a little bit reflective” after losing the November election, and that the current conversation among leading Republicans about the party's future is “a really good debate” to have.
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