Bill Nelson Says He'll Work With Republicans to Stave Off Defense Cuts
US Senator Bill Nelson says he's prepared work with Republican senators to avert big military spending cuts. The Florida Democrat says he'll support three Republican senators who held a public meeting in Tampa Monday to talk about the upcoming cuts.
The trillion dollars in automatic spending cuts, known as sequestration, take effect in January next year and include 500 billion dollars in cuts to defense.
This week Republican senators John McCain, Lindsey Graham and Kelly Ayotte are touring four states with important military ties: Florida, Virginia, North Carolina and New Hampshire, to hold public talks about the cuts.
Senator Nelson says while some might view the tour as election year politics, he believes it’s a chance to avert a crisis.
“The common sense is that, what you do is you bring Republicans and Democrats together, you stop this silly partisan fighting that’s going on.”
Nelson says the impending defense spending cuts are unacceptable, and were never intended to take effect.
"The sequestration that we're dealing with was the hammer hanging over the heads of the 12 person super committee to force them to come to a comprehensive deficit reduction plan of $4 trillion over ten years."
Nelson says although the congressional deficit reduction committee hasn't been able to agree on how to reduce the deficit, sequestration will be avoided. But he doesn't think there will be an agreement before the presidential election in November.
Nelson says while he favors comprehensive tax code reform and closing loopholes as part of a deficit reduction plan, there are some things the Pentagon could do to save money, such as reducing troop numbers in Europe.