WASHINGTON -- A top Senate Republican said Sunday that the Obama administration is exaggerating the impact of looming cuts to federal spending.
The cuts, known as "sequestration," will shave $85 billion from the federal budget this year unless Congress strikes an unlikely deal to replace the cuts with something milder. The Obama administration has said many bad things will happen as a result of the cuts, including increased airport delays.
Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) told "Fox News Sunday" host Chris Wallace that the Obama administration is "absolutely" exaggerating the impact of the cuts.
"It is a terrible way to cut spending, but not to cut 2.5 percent over the total budget over a year when it is twice the size it was 10 years ago? Give me a break," Coburn said. "We see all these claims about what a tragedy it's going to be."
Then the senator suggested one of the top sequestration talking points -- that the cuts will worsen airport delays -- is bunk because federal agencies have enough discretion in how they implement the cuts.
"The great example is, is if the Secretary of Transportation can assure us all the planes will be safe, then the Department of Homeland Security can assure us that we can get through the airports on time," Coburn said. "They have plenty of flexibility in terms of discretion on how they spend money."
Both Coburn and fellow "Fox News Sunday" guest Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) predicted the cuts would take effect.