Al Cardenas, chairman of the American Conservative Union, this week accused President Barack Obama of manufacturing a crisis over the sequester, saying the president is exaggerating the impact of the cuts.
In an interview with Newsmax TV, Cardenas finds it “crazy” that a penny or two out of every dollar can’t be cut to make the federal government operate more efficiently.
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“[President Obama] can find $85 billion worth of efficiencies very easily in government. He’s doing the showcase to demonstrate that sequester doesn’t work, but guess what? The sequester was his idea, not anybody else’s. He’s the one who insisted on the sequester that was part of a deal negotiated last year,” Cardenas said.
Cardenas said House Speaker John Boehner and other Republicans told President Obama early on that the formula for implementing the cuts imposed by the sequester was flawed and they would support him in implementing a better way — an offer Cardenas said Obama refused.
“The president of the United States first of all suggests sequester, then says it’s not going to work and then refuses to accept another offer to do it his way,” Cardenas said. “Obviously, it’s all about politics for him and the White House. This country can very easily live with an $85 billion cut in a $3.7 trillion budget.”
Cardenas said it’s imperative all leaders in Washington understand the impact of the rising national debt and work together to solve it.
“We still have a lot of cutting to do, and we’ve got to figure out a way to balance our budget in 10 years. All this national debt will swallow our country up in no time,” he said.
Cardenas said he could support Boehner’s plan for a continuing resolution that funds the government for the remainder of the fiscal year, as long as House leaders continue to work toward achieving a balanced budget in 10 years.
“They both have to go hand-in-hand in order for the whole prudent fiscal management to take place,” he said.
The president has been lobbying Republicans to support a deficit reduction package that includes additional tax increases on high-income households. Cardenas believes new taxes should be off the table and that sensible cuts should instead be the priority.
“We’ve said from the outset that tax revenue increases are out of the question. The sequester was a deal that was made a year ago. We still have to find ways to cut additional government expenses and deal with our entitlement crisis, which we haven’t embarked upon,” Cardenas said. “That eats up $2.5 trillion of a $3.7 trillion budget. Until we deal responsibly with entitlement reform, we’re not going to be able to manage the escalating debt the nation has.”
Addressing the divide in the Republican Party, Cardenas said he believes Washington’s dysfunction isn’t due to disagreements within the party, but rather the philosophies of Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
“The White House is occupied by the most liberal president, in my opinion, that we‘ve ever had. We’ve got a Senate leader that doesn’t want to, doesn’t care to, and doesn’t know how to negotiate compromises with his Republican colleagues,” he said.
“The House has passed enough bills to create a path toward making things better in America and improving our economy, but the Senate has refused every one of our overtures. I don’t think it’s a Republican problem as much as a problem dealing with the fact that we have liberals leading the Senate and the White House.”
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