Sunday October 4th, 2015 7:45PM

Broun says he wants automatic budget cuts to occur

By The Associated Press
SAVANNAH - Traveling across Georgia to tout his candidacy for the U.S. Senate, Republican Rep. Paul Broun said Friday that he sees $100 billion in automatic budget cuts as Washington's only realistic option for trimming spending. Even with the Pentagon warning that the cuts would devastate the military, Broun said: ``I want to see it go into place.''

``It's the only way that we're going to get any positive spending cuts, and I'm in favor of the sequester going into place,'' Broun said in an interview Friday as he stopped in Savannah. ``We've got to reel in the spending with Congress as well as the president. Both parties are guilty.''

Broun, of Athens, officially announced his campaign to succeed retiring GOP Sen. Saxby Chambliss on Wednesday, making him the first and so far only candidate to do so for the 2014 race. He wasted no time in making a lap of the state's major cities, sitting for interviews and meeting with tea party leaders and other supporters. Broun swung through Augusta on Thursday before heading Friday to Savannah and Macon. Stops in Columbus and Albany were planned Monday before the congressman returns to Washington.

The automatic budget cuts are scheduled to kick in March 1 if Democrats and Republicans can't reach an agreement to trim $1.2 trillion from the deficit over the next decade. Sequestration would trigger $42.7 billion in cuts to the military over seven months. Domestic programs would face equal cuts.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, trying to head off cutbacks that would shrink the Pentagon budget by 7 percent, said Thursday that the measure was ``designed to be so nuts that everybody would do everything possible to make sure it didn't happen.''

Broun is courting tea party supporters and other fiscal hawks as he calls for slashing government spending. He served in the Marines and is still in the Navy Reserve. Broun said he's confident much of the funding the Pentagon would lose in the automatic cuts would be restored down the road, though it would likely take several years.

``We can plus-up the military as soon as we make those cuts that are necessary,'' Broun said. ``If we have a financial meltdown in America as we're doing today, we won't have the money to support our defense.''

With plenty of time left to join the 2014 Senate race, several of Broun's fellow GOP congressmen are being mentioned as possible contenders for the Republican nomination, such as Reps. Paul Gingrey of Marietta, Jack Kingston of Savannah and Tom Price of Roswell. National Democrats say they plan to wage a fierce challenge for the Georgia seat.

So far, Broun is sticking to a message that he'd be the only candidate willing to stop runaway spending in Washington. But since winning his House seat in 2007, the physician has widely been known outside his northeast Georgia district for ultraconservative statements on social issues.

Last year Broun grabbed national headlines when he told a Baptist church group that evolution, embryology and the Big Bang theory were ``lies straight from the pit of hell.'' On Friday he brushed aside questions about whether such statements might turn off voters in a statewide general election.

``It's well known that I'm a Bible-believing Christian, and I understand that other people have different beliefs and I respect those beliefs,'' Broun said. ``But what everybody in this state whether they're black or white, Democrat or Republican, liberal or conservative can understand very clearly is we have to stop the out-of-control spending in Washington.''
© Copyright 2015
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Ethics laws set to take effect Jan. 1 in Georgia
After dominating much of the legislative session, a set of major ethics reforms is scheduled to take effect Jan. 1.
7:04PM ( 1 year ago )
Sex offender held in Hall County for failing to register
A 47-year-old man was booked into the Hall County Jail Tuesday, being held without bond for allegedly failing to register as a sex offender, his second such arrest.
6:09PM ( 1 year ago )
Pharmacy robberies may involve same suspect
Oakwood Police Tuesday afternoon released details in a pharmacy robbery they're investigating, similar to one that happened in the Hall County Tuesday morning.
5:46PM ( 1 year ago )
Local/State News
Dems, GOP seek to define issue for 2014 elections
Ten months to next year's midterm elections, Democrats are determined to make Congress' slim production of fewer than 60 laws and plenty of incompletes - on immigration, gun control, tax reform and basic spending bills - a defining issue, heaping much of the blame on the GOP-led House for obstructing President Barack Obama's second-term agenda.
1:38PM ( 1 year ago )
Kerry seeks framework for Mideast peace talks
A senior State Department official says Secretary of State John Kerry will try this week to get Israel and the Palestinians to agree on a framework for negotiating a final peace agreement, yet cautions against raising expectations for Kerry's latest round of shuttle diplomacy.
1:35PM ( 1 year ago )
Mexican sales tax hike seen as boon on US border
Mexican license plates are common in parking lots of shopping malls in U.S. border cities. They will be even more familiar after Mexico raises its federal sales tax in border regions to match the rest of the country, say merchants and shoppers.
11:06AM ( 1 year ago )
Over 10,000 Habersham EMC customers without power; Ga. Power also coping with outages
Power crews and public safety officials spent all day Sunday and into the night dealing with numerous downed trees, broken poles and broken power lines in White and surrounding counties.
By Dean Dyer
5:39PM ( 2 hours ago )
Freeman leads Falcons to another win, 48-21 over Texans
No need for another fourth-quarter comeback...
5:23PM ( 2 hours ago )
UPDATED: Ga. man dies in weather-related accident in NC, strong winds topple trees across North Ga.
Wind gusts of more than 40 mph wreaked havoc on North Georgia Sunday morning, bringing down trees and knocking out power for thousands of people.
4:15PM ( 3 hours ago )
Monday is deadline to register to vote in Nov. elections
Monday is the deadline to register to vote Nov. 3 when Hall County residents will be asked to approve an extension of the education sales tax and a number of city elections will be held.
11:30AM ( 8 hours ago )
Town hall on developmental disabilities coming to Gainesville
A Georgia non-profit that provides parental family support, advocacy and training for people with developmental disabilities is coming to Gainesville again to host a town hall session.
10:52AM ( 8 hours ago )