House majority leader bearish on Defense sequester

Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va. Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va. Steve Helber/AP
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor took a bearish view of the looming defense sequester today, saying America would have to rethink its standing as a global power if the cuts hit.

"What we do know right now is the question before us is this looming sequester. And that has serious implications so far as our ability as Americans to be seeming a global power," Cantor said Friday in a Morning Joe interview.

Cantor's comments come after he said in a recent debate with Democratic challenger Wayne Powell that he did not support the sequester despite voting for the deal that included the triggered cuts. PolitiFact rated Cantor's position on the sequester from the debate a Full Flop.

The Virginia Republican linked the defense sequester to jobs and the economy, but he did not hint at how Congress and the president would undo the cuts that include a $55 billion chunk next year.

President Barack Obama has signaled he is unwilling to roll back the cuts until Congress comes up with a plan to reduce the deficit by $1.2 trillion or face the automatic reductions. At the same time, the White House moved last month to prevent defense contractors from issuing mass layoff notices as required by law if the sequester were to take effect.

So what's going on here?

One defense analyst, speaking to our National Journal colleagues after the White House issued a report on the sequester last month, suggested the negotiations were like a high-stakes political game.

"It's still sort of playing chicken: Who's going to budge first?" said William Hartung, a defense analyst at the Center for International Policy.
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