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Lindsey Graham worries cuts will ‘destroy the Defense Department’

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Republican South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham is calling for cuts to Social Security and lower tax rates, but at the same time he worries that the Department of Defense will be “destroyed” by deficit reduction measures.

If the Super Committee fails to find $1.2 trillion worth of deficit reduction by Nov. 23, it will trigger an equal amount of cuts from domestic programs and defense spending. President Barack Obama has introduced his own plan reduce the nation’s debt by more than $2 trillion, about half of that coming from increased taxes on high-income earners.

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Fox News’ Chris Wallace asked Graham Sunday if it was really fair to balance the budget on the backs of the poor while asking nothing of the top earners.

“Well, what you do with Medicare and Medicaid reforms, you do what Ronald Reagan and Tip O’Neill did: you work together to protect near-term retirees,” Graham explained. “[Obama has] had a lot of input and advice in a bipartisan fashion from the Gang of Six, but he’s going down a partisan route. He’s trying to elevate class warfare… He’s using, in my view, a strategy of class warfare, divide and conquer in order to survive this next election. It won’t work.”

“If Congress is so divided and the congressional Super Committee only has only two months to come up with another trillion dollars in cuts, what are the chances for a compromise?” Wallace wondered.

“See if you can flatten the tax code — something I support — lower rates, flatten the tax code, do entitlement reform in a way that doesn’t hurt near-term retirees and get our fiscal house in order,” Graham suggested. “At the end of the day if this commission fails, there is a trigger cutting defense by $600 billion if they can’t perform their job.”

“I will introduce legislation, Chris, to protect the Defense Department from devastating cuts… I want an across-the-board cut as a trigger, the whole government being on the table with a five percent reduction for the whole government, and cut our pay by 10 percent rather than devastating the Defense Department. I hope the Super Committee works, but if it fails let’s don’t destroy the Defense Department.”

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Watch this video from Fox’s Fox News Sunday, broadcast Sept. 25, 2011.


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