Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), Senate Armed Services Committee chairman, said June 14 he doesn’t think Congress will allow sequestration to take effect; however, the bigger question is not whether such “draconian” cuts can be avoided, but how long legislators will push off the inevitable. “The odds are very strong that we will avoid it,” said Levin during a meeting with reporters in Washington, D.C. Sequestration, he said, “is not a rational way of budgeting.” He added, “There is a growing understanding [in Congress] of a need to take some steps [before the Presidential election] to promote confidence, so we don’t have that train wreck.” Bipartisanship has not been a strong suit for this Congress, but Levin said there are some issues on which Democrats and Republicans can agree and that’s what he’s focusing on. “For example, I don’t think anybody wants to see a middle income tax increase,” said Levin. So, why not “take the pieces where we can agree and show that we’ve reached agreement on those? It would boost the confidence of the public and the economy and the business community that we are not going to let this draconian mess happen.”
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.