Substituting Sequestration

Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), Senate Armed Services Committee chairman, said he firmly opposes a proposal floated by committee Ranking Member Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) to carve out an exemption for the Defense Department from budget sequestration as part of a vote to authorize use of force in Syria. A Syria resolution either “makes sense as part of our national security” or it doesn’t, said Levin during a Sept. 11 meeting with reporters in Washington, D.C. “It shouldn’t be tied to sequestration, which is a broader issue,” said Levin. He reiterated that he wants to get rid of sequestration, which he called “irrational,” but said the only way to do that is by composing legislation that addresses “targeted” spending cuts, ensures some kind of entitlement reform, and addresses revenues. There are significant revenues that would be brought into the treasury were it not for concerted efforts by US-based multinational organizations to sidestep taxes, said Levin, who also chairs the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee’s permanent subcommittee on investigations. “These are loopholes that have no purpose other than avoiding taxation,” he said. “These gimmicks are significant and could be part of a package that combines and forms a substitute for sequestration.”