Panetta on Sequestration: ‘I’ll take whatever the hell deal they can make’

'You want a strong national defense for this country? I need to have some stability.'


Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said in a Thursday press briefing that he will “take whatever the hell they can make” on the impending sequestration, saying that the threat of sequestration has created a problem as the department tries to plan.

REPORTER: Mr. Secretary, Congress has left town without making a deal to avoid sequestration. Last week, Dr. Carter spoke, he said some sort of short-term deal might be beneficial. Do you agree with that state? A short-term deal to avoid sequestration?

SEC. PANETTA: I’ll take whatever the hell deal they can make right now to deal with sequestration. The problem–the problem now is that they’ve left town and all this has now been put off to the lame-duck session. So it’s extremely important that when they return after the election that they take steps to deal not just with this issue, but with the larger fiscal cliff issue that this country is facing. We cannot maintain a strong defense for this country if sequestration is allowed to happen, number one.

But, very frankly, just the shadow of sequester being out there continually is something that–it basically creates a problem for us as we try to plan for the future. What exactly–what are we going to be facing? How are we going to deal with it?

We need stability. You want a strong national defense for this country? I need to have some stability. And that’s what I’m asking the Congress to do: Give me some stability with regards to the funding of the Defense Department for the future.