Bring on the Cuts: Some Want the Sequester
Obama is sounding alarm bells, but not everyone is running for the hills.
Feb. 27, 2013 — -- Mark Lucas wouldn't mind seeing America's defense budget cut by billions.
"There's quite a bit of waste within the military," Lucas, who serves as Iowa state director for the conservative group Americans for Prosperity (AFP), told ABC News. "Being in there for 10 years, I've seen quite a bit of it."
With the budget sequester set to kick in on Friday, the former Army ranger is among a small chorus of conservatives saying bring on the cuts.
Lucas cited duplicative equipment purchases, military-run golf courses and lavish food on larger bases -- unlike the chow he endured at a combat operations post in Afghanistan with about 120 other soldiers.
"These guys would have very good food, and I'm talking almost like a buffet style, shrimp and steak once a week, ice cream, all this stuff," Lucas said. "They had Burger Kings and Pizza Huts and McDonald's. And I said to myself, 'Do we really need this?'"
Lucas and AFP would like to see the sequester modified, with federal agencies granted more authority to target the cuts and avoid the more dire consequences. But the group wants the cuts to happen.
"We're very supportive of the sequestration cuts but would prefer to see more targeted cuts at the same level," said the group's spokesman, Levi Russell.
As President Obama and his Cabinet members are sounding the sequester alarm bells, AFP's willingness shows that not everyone is running for the hills.
Read more: 57 Terrible Consequences of the Sequester
Obama traveled to Norfolk, Va., on Tuesday to speak at a shipyard about cuts and layoffs to defense contractors. In his most recent weekly radio address, he told Americans that the Navy has already kept an aircraft carrier home instead of deploying it to the Persian Gulf. And last week, he spoke before national TV cameras at the White House, warning that first responders would be laid off.
Homeland Security Secretary Jane Napolitano has warned that the sequester will "leave critical infrastructure vulnerable to attacks." Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has warned that air travel will back up after the Federal Aviation Administration furloughs air traffic controllers. And the heads of 18 other federal agencies told Congress that terrible things will happen unless the sequester is pushed off.
Some Republicans have accused the president of scaremongering to gin up popular support for tax hikes. Obama has warned of calamity and demanded compromise in the next breath, and a few Republicans have rejected this as a false choice.
Read more: Boehner Hopes Senate 'Gets Off Their Ass'
"I don't think the president's focused on trying to find a solution to the sequester," House Speaker John Boehner told reporters at a press conference on Tuesday. "For 16 months, the president's been traveling all over the country holding rallies, instead of sitting down with Senate leaders in order to try to forge an agreement over there in order to move the bill."
After Obama spoke to governors at the this week, Republican Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal told ABC News' Jonathan Karl outside the White House that the president is exaggerating the sequester's consequences.
"He's trying to scare the American people," Jindal said. "He's trying to distort the impact."