If Republicans are not willing to compromise on a “balanced and bipartisan” budget deal, no deal will get done this year, and sequestration will take effect in January, said Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.). “If we can’t get a good deal … that calls on the wealthy to pay their ‘fair share,’ then I will absolutely continue this debate into 2013,” said Murray, a member of the Senate Democratic leadership, in a July 16 speech at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C. “Anyone who tells you sequestration is going to simply disappear because both sides want to avoid it is either fooling themselves, or trying to fool you,” she added. Although defense cuts will “get most of the attention,” it is vital to devote as much time discussing all of the other elements of the budget, said Murray. “We are also not going to allow just the defense cuts to be replaced without addressing the domestic spending cuts that would be devastating to the middle class,” she said. Murray did end her speech on an optimistic note. “We have some good reasons to think a deal can happen before the end of the year,” she said. (Brookings webpage of event)
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.