Sen. Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut, campaigning in Nebraska for Democrat Bob Kerrey, stated during a stop in Lincoln that Congress must act or the country might well slide back into recession.
Lieberman told reporters Congress has gotten good at doing nothing, but must act to address drastic budget cuts slated to take effect at the beginning of the year and keep Bush-era tax cuts from expiring.
“Because, together, if the taxes went up and the spending went that drastically down, it would put our economy back in a recession,” according to Lieberman.
Lieberman officially is independent, but he continues to caucus with Democrats in the United States Senate. He said his long-time relationship with Kerrey prompted him to campaign for the Democratic United States Senate candidate.
A breakdown in negotiations to cut the deficit could lead to $1 trillion in budget cuts, split evenly between domestic and defense programs.
Lieberman stated such deep defense budget cuts would devastate the military.
“We’ve already cut about half a trillion dollars out of a defense budget for the next ten years,” Lieberman said. “And that, in my opinion, already means that we’re accepting unacceptable risks to our national security.”
Lieberman pointed out Congress has already cut half a trillion dollars from the defense budget over the next ten years.
“If you add on top of that another half trillion in cuts, the U.S. military simply could not meet the commitments that we need to meet to protect our security and our freedom,” according to Lieberman. “So, God forbid that happens.”
Lieberman is a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee as well as the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.
Many economists have forecast that the combination of drastic budget cuts combined with higher taxes would cause the economy to fall off of a fiscal cliff, an assessment Lieberman accepts.
“We are facing a fiscal cliff and we better avoid going over it before we’re already on the way down.”
AUDIO: Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) speaks with reporters about the “fiscal cliff”. [3 min.]