U.S. Congressman Andy Harris appeared on the WAMD Morning Show Tuesday morning to discuss the failure of Super Committee to agree on $1.2 trillion in spending cuts over 10 years.
During his interview with Morning Show hosts Maynard Edwards and Cindy Mumby, Harris speculated that President Barack Obama always wanted the Super Committee to fail, allowing him to run against a “do nothing” Congress.
Harris also said the Republicans wanted to keep the Bush tax cuts in place, but offered to reduce $300 billion by closing “loopholes.” The Democrats wanted $1 trillion in tax increases or nothing. Tax reform proposed by Republicans was “beat down” by Democrats, Harris said, and the President “jumped in” with them.
Harris expressed worry about the automatic spending cuts now triggered, noting that President Obama has said he would veto any attempt to circumvent the automatic cuts.
In the defense budget, Harris said the cuts amount to $600 billion, or a 10% budget reduction, over and above the winding down of the war in Iraq.
Harris said that the defense cuts will have a “direct effect” on Aberdeen Proving Ground and other federal operations in Maryland. Nationally, he said that the defense cuts could mean layoffs of 200,000 federal employees, including soldiers, or else cuts to weapons development programs. He said that defense cuts of a few percentage points were doable, but not 10%.
As for non-defense spending cuts, Harris said that President Obama can “pick and choose” which areas to cut.
Finally, in the field of candidates seeking the Republican Presidential nomination, Harris said he is leaning very heavily toward Newt Gingrich and will likely be issuing an official statement in that regard.