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Graham Warns of Sequester Effect on Syria, Iran Intervention

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)
(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)

If the sequester continues, the United States might not be able to take action in Syria and Iran.

That was Sen. Lindsey Graham’s message Tuesday. The South Carolina Republican is one of the leading advocates of increased intervention against the regime of Bashar al-Assad and support for rebel groups.

“I think when you have the chairman of the Joint Chiefs saying we’ve got money problems in terms of replacing Assad and talk about the consequences of an Iranian nuclear program getting hot, that it really empowers a guy like me to say, ‘Enough already,'” Graham said.

“The best thing that can happen for a guy like me is to make clear the consequence of sequestration and have that play out in terms of the world in which we live,” Graham added. “It makes it harder to do Syria. It makes it harder to do Iran.”

Graham’s comments come the same day Senate Budget Chairwoman Patty Murray, D-Wash., held a hearing on the national security consequences of the across-the-board cuts to spending required by the sequester, including the effect of small businesses involved in government contacting.

“Democrats and Republicans spent a lot of time over the last two years talking about how devastating these cuts would be,” Murray said. “A number of my Republican colleagues traveled around the country to talk about the ways that sequestration would ‘hollow out the military.’”

Graham was among the senators on that tour, along with frequent GOP companions and defense hawks Sens. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire and John McCain of Arizona.