Arizona’s other senator, John McCain, the top Republican on the Armed Services Committee, dismissed Reid’s comments as “unfortunate.”Democrats are, thus far, holding their ground and backing up Reid.
“I think it makes it pretty clear what Senator Reid doesn’t understand are the devastating effects on our nation’s security that Secretary Panetta has so graphically described,” said McCain, a Vietnam veteran and retired Navy captain. [...]
Sen. Lindsey Graham, an Air Force reservist, chimed in as well: “Gutting the military should be the last thing we want to do.”
“If Republicans are willing to put revenue on the table—which is what a fair and balanced approach is—we’ll be able to get there,” said Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), who served as co-chairwoman of the failed supercommittee and whose state is home to more than 80,000 Boeing workers. [...]Republicans can avoid "gutting" the military simply by agreeing to pay for the military, not by slashing all other domestic programs to the bone as Republicans in the House and Senate have voted repeatedly to do, but by raising taxes on the wealthy.
Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin predicted that the automatic cuts will be scrapped before November, but like Reid and Murray, he insisted that revenue must be part of the equation.
“I think we’ll avoid sequestration, but the only way to avoid it is if everybody is in the soup together,” the Michigan Democrat said.
So what it really comes down to is whether Republicans are more committed to national defense or to Grover Norquist.