Durbin: Obama’s Sequester Designed As a 'Threat’ to Get Tax Hikes

By Matt Cover | February 11, 2013 | 2:21 PM EST

Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill on Dec. 16, 2009. (AP File Photo/Harry Hamburg)

(CNSNews.com) – Assistant Senate Majority Leader Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said that President Obama originally designed the budget sequester as a threat to get Republicans to agree to raise taxes, never intending it to actually be policy.

“[S]equestration was designed as a budget threat, not as a budget strategy, Durbin said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday.

“When the president proposed the sequester, it was as an incentive to those of us in Congress to work together on a bipartisan basis to solve these problems. It was supposed to be so awful that the super committee would finally reach a bipartisan agreement.”

Durbin is referring to the congressional committee created by the 2011 Budget Control Act (BCA) and assigned the task of cutting $1.5 trillion from the deficit. Under the BCA, if the committee – colloquially dubbed the Super Committee – failed to achieve the cuts, they would happen automatically. These automatic cuts are known as the sequester.

Durbin said that Democrats want to avoid sequestration, but insist that Republicans agree to raise taxes even more – despite the GOP agreeing to allow rates on wealthier Americans to rise in January as part of the fiscal cliff deal.

“Let's sit down and do this in a thoughtful manner. And let's include revenue. We should have half of this as revenue from tax reform and the other half in spending cuts. And I support those spending cuts,” he said.