As some members of Congress consider short-term fixes to stave off the effects of sequestration, Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter said on Thursday he would also prefer delaying the $55 billion in reductions to the Pentagon's budget that could take effect next year if Congress fails to reach a deal to reduce the deficit.
"A delay is better than having it," Carter said at a Politico Pro Defense event. "And if a delay leads to ultimately dispelling this cloud, it's all the better."
Carter referred to the across-the-board cuts, which would reduce defense discretionary accounts by 9.4 percent next year, as a "hidden tax," saying it would force the Pentagon "to be uneconomical, and our industry partners to be uneconomical in the conduct of our affairs."
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said at the same event he is looking for a deal to stave off sequestration for about four months, to provide "some confidence" to strike a grand bargain to reduce the deficit down the road. House Budget Committee ranking member Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., said a short-term fix to push back sequestration entirely would "certainly be kicking the can down the road" — and instead wants to find "some kind of agreement" to achieve deficit reduction goals for six months and avert the across-the-board cuts that way.