This morning on Face the Nation, Newark mayor Cory Booker was asked his thoughts about ongoing federal budget negotiations, leading him to express his serious concerns about the prospect of sequestration and provide effusive praise for the president’s approach to it. He said, “I pray [the sequester] doesn’t happen,” saying he sees “the consequences on the ground” and that the cuts would “hurt small businesses.” He called the cuts “blunt, brutal, and blind” and asserted that “every independent economist says that [sequestration] would hurt the United States of America.”
He praised the president for “putting tremendous cuts on the table, trillions of dollars worth of cuts,” and said that any spending cuts should be “intelligent and insightful.”
Booker asserted incorrectly, however, that the White House chief of staff preceding him on the show had explained that the White House has offered $4 trillion worth of cuts — in fact, the president has agreed to $4 trillion in “deficit reduction,” not spending cuts. In fact, for its part, the White House claims to have already enacted $1.4 trillion in cuts but achieved $2.5 trillion in deficit reduction, thanks to $600 billion in higher taxes and $500 billion in interest savings. The remaining $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction, the president has repeatedly explained, also shouldn’t come from spending cuts alone. In toto, the president has proposed that half of the $4 trillion in deficit reduction should come from cuts — half of what Booker claimed — and a quarter should come from higher taxes, and quarter from reduced interest payments. (McDonough correctly labeled the $4 trillion promise from the president “deficit reduction,” rather than pretending it was all spending cuts.)
The Newark mayor also was asked about the retirement of New Jersey senator Frank Lautenberg, which opens up a New Jersey Senate seat which many assume Booker would run for. He said “clearly it’s a job that I’m interested in,” though he averred that his attention now is on New Jersey’s 2013 gubernatorial and legislative elections. He said, “I hope to be one of those people that New Jersey governors will consider giving that honor” of serving in the Senate.