Tags: Obama | sequester | looming | idea

Obama's Sequester Plan Now Just 10 Days Away

Monday, 18 Feb 2013 11:46 AM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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President Barack Obama returned to Washington on Monday after a three-day Florida golfing trip with time running out to find ways to avoid his own brainchild plan of $1 trillion in across-the-board cuts.

The looming sequester, which Obama thought up, despite him now labeling it a "really bad idea" is set to kick in on March 1

Now Republicans, led by House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan are making sure the public realizes where to point the finger of blame if the package cannot be stopped.

“Don't forget it's the president that proposed the sequester and designed the sequester,” the Wisconsin Republican said on ABC News’ This Week. "House Republicans twice passed legislation replacing the sequester with smarter cuts in other areas of government.”

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Ryan said House Republicans are still working on plans to replace the sequester but said that with just two weeks before it starts he believes it will occur.

The Senate hasn't yet passed a spending bill to replace the sequester, Ryan said, noting Obama “gave a speech showing he'd like to replace it, but he hasn't put any details out there.”

In his State of the Union Address on Feb. 12, the president explained that in 2011, Congress passed a law that said if both parties could not agree on spending cuts, “about a trillion dollars worth of budget cuts would automatically go into effect this year.”

Obama said the “sudden, harsh, arbitrary cuts would jeopardize military readiness. They devastate priorities like education and energy and medical research, and they would certainly slow our recovery and cost us hundreds of thousands of jobs...these cuts, known here in Washington as the sequester, are a really bad idea.”

But Ryan said the cuts are looming — and will probably happen — “because the president back in the last session of congress refused to cut spending in any place and therefore we wound up with the sequester.”

While Ryan in the past has said that he and other conservatives are fighting for statutory caps on spending, he said Sunday he was talking about budget caps on discretionary spending, which occurred and the party wanted them.

“Everybody wants budget caps,” Ryan said, pointing out “the sequester we're talking about now was backing up the supercommittee.”

The committee was supposed to have come up with $1.2 trillion in savings, Ryan said, and Republicans offered even higher revenues in exchange of spending cuts.

“It was rejected by the president and the Democrats, so no resolution occurred and therefore the sequester is occurring,” Ryan said “When you have no budget passing the Senate for four years, when the president is going to be about a month late in proposing his budget, there's no leadership on the other side of the aisle and therefore no agreement.”

Ryan is not the only person who is adamant that the sequester blame lies on Obama’s shoulders. Washington Post associate editor Bob Woodward, sitting on the discussion panel on Fox News Sunday, also said the sequester was the White House's idea.

“It was the White House, it was Obama and Jack Lew and Rob Nabors who went to the Democratic leader in the Senate Harry Reid and said this is the solution,” said Woodward.
“But everyone has their fingerprints on this,” he added. “What is important about it is, it is a governing travesty.

"The idea that you are going to go around and in random ways just cut things, it would be like a family that has to cut their budget, saying, oh, let's cut the medicine that keeps the children alive. It is stupid.”

Woodward said the White House doesn't dispute proposing the sequester, “and they really don't want to talk about the origins of the sequester now.”

House Speaker John Boehner also blames the White House for the sequester. “It’s taking a meat axe to government spending,” he said following the State of the Union speech.
“That’s why the president outght to be forthcoming about a plan to replace the sequester.

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His Number Two, Majority Leader Eric Cantor agreed with Boehner that the GOP will do what it can to avoid the cuts kicking in. “We mean business, Mr. President. We are willing to work with you,” he said.

The threat of the sequester starting has been made worse by Congress’ decision to take a 10-day President’s Day break. It won’t return to session until Feb. 25, giving it just four working days to find a solution. Obama spent his weekend playing golf in Florida, including a game with Tiger Woods.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid claims Democrats will issue their answer at some point in that time.

“Democrats believe the right way to eliminate the deficit is to target waste and abuse with smart spending cuts with closing tax loopholes," Reid said.

But Reid’s decision to hold off, just adds to the brinksmanship that Obama slammed during his address, when he said, “The greatest nation on Earth cannot keep conducting its business by drifting from one manufactured crisis to the next. Let’s agree, right here, right now, to keep the people’s government open, pay our bills on time, and always uphold the full faith and credit of the United States of America.

“The American people have worked too hard, for too long, rebuilding from one crisis to see their elected officials cause another,” the president said.


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