Guests: McCaskill, Coburn, Walker & Markell

By Fox News Sunday, Fox News Sunday - February 24, 2013


Written by Chris Wallace / Published February 24, 2013 / Fox News Sunday

Special Guests: Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla. , Gov. Jack Markell, D-Del., Gov. Scott Walker, R-Wis.

The following is a rush transcript of the February 24, 2013, edition of "Fox News Sunday With Chris Wallace." This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

CHRIS WALLACE, HOST: I'm Chris Wallace.

It's five days and counting until those automatic spending cuts kick in.


WALLACE: From defense, to food inspection to travel at airports, what happens when $85 billion in cuts are triggered Friday? And what are the chances for a last-minute deal?

We'll ask two senators at the heart of the debate: Republican Tom Coburn, and Democrat Claire McCaskill.

Then, how are governors preparing for sequestration? Will the cuts squeeze their budgets and drive some states into recession?

We'll talk with two leading governors, Scott Walker of Wisconsin and Jack Markell of Delaware.

Plus, with the president and Republicans eyeball-to-eyeball, who will blink first?

We'll ask our Sunday panel which side is winning the sequester blame game.

And our power player of the week: a brain surgeon touches a political nerve in Washington.

All, right now, on "Fox News Sunday."


WALLACE: And hello, again, from Fox News in Washington.

When all sides agreed to the sequester a year-and-a-half ago, those automatic, across-the-board spending cuts were supposed to be so painful it would force the president and Congress to make a deal. But, now, with just five days to go there is still no deal and the deadline is here.

Joining us today, two Senate leaders on budget issues, from Oklahoma Republican Tom Coburn and from Missouri, Democrat Claire McCaskill.

Senators, let's start with the big question, quick question, quick answer -- will the sequester happen? Will those $85 billion in spending cuts kick in on Friday?

Senator Coburn?

SEN. TOM COBURN, R-OKLA.: Yes, it will and it's not $85 billion, because it's a pro rata portion of that, until the end of this year. So, it won't be a full $85 billion.

WALLACE: But it's going to kick in?

COBURN: It will kick in, but at a pro rata rate. So, you're not going to see $85 billion all of a sudden shrink from the federal government.

WALLACE: We're going to get to that in a second.

Senator McCaskill, do you agree it is going to happen?

SEN. CLAIRE MCCASKILL, D-MO.: Well, unless the Republicans are willing to compromise and do a balanced approach, I think it will kick in.

I am a little confused about the Republican position at this point. It appears that Speaker Boehner does not have any kind of bill that he can even put on the floor of the House that could pass within his caucus. And I think there is a little bit of a civil war that's broken out among the Republican ranks.

WALLACE: Wait a minute, Senator McCaskill. The fact is the House has passed two measures to replace the sequester cuts with other spending cuts, equal in size but, with other cuts. They've actually passed something in the House here. And the Senate hasn't passed anything.

MCCASKILL: That's -- they passed it last year, Chris. But they've not put anything -- there is a new Congress now. And those bills have no effective law. And we are --

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