CHATTANOOGA -- Republican U.S. Sen. Bob Corker says he doesn't think Congress will act to stop federal spending cuts slated to go into effect on Friday and that the situation is a "wake-up call" to the nation's spending ills.
The Chattanooga Times Free Press (http://bit.ly/ZpYfe1 ) reports Corker made the comments Friday while speaking to a business group and others.
The automatic budget cuts of $1.2 trillion, which will go into effect unless lawmakers take action, would affect a myriad of government services including national defense, airline traffic and national parks.
Corker called the automatic cuts "a ham-handed" way to tighten spending, but said the U.S. would be "better off as a nation if we let the sequester kick in than we would to continue to sweep this problem under the rug."
He says the president should be given flexibility to manage the cuts, called sequestration, through August.
"The best thing for us to do is figure out a way wisely to reduce spending over the next decade," he said. "It can be done in a way that does not have some of the negative impact we have with the sequester."
He told the group that it seems "almost unfathomable we can't find a way to trim spending by $1.2 trillion" of $47 trillion the federal government plans to spend in the next 10 years.
"The wise thing is just to agree to $1.2 trillion in spending reductions, and I've got a bill that does that," Corker said.
U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., supports the bill, but added that strong presidential leadership is required with spending cuts.
"It requires the kind of leadership President Nixon gave when he went against his own party and made an agreement with China, that President Clinton did on welfare reform, that President Reagan did on Social Security," Alexander said.
Information from: Chattanooga Times Free Press, http://www.timesfreepress.com