Tags: rove | gop | hogwash | bluff

Karl Rove: Sequester Scare Talk is 'Hogwash'

By Todd Beamon   |   Wednesday, 27 Feb 2013 10:37 PM

Political strategist Karl Rove on Wednesday described the efforts by President Barack Obama to “scare the bejesus” out of Americans regarding the impending $85 billion in budget cuts as “hogwash” and urged Republicans to call his bluff.

“Mr. Obama has pounded away at the alleged damage of the sequester's across-the-board cuts,” Rove said in an opinion article in The Wall Street Journal. “House Republicans should call his bluff and pass legislation giving cabinet secretaries flexibility to transfer funds between accounts so that sequester cuts come from less-important activities.

“If the Democratic-controlled Senate blocks its passage, at least voters will see how cynical the president's rhetoric is,” Rove continued. “But if Senate Democrats and Mr. Obama go along (as they would), then the responsibility to cut in a prudent manner would be on the president and his cabinet.”

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Rove, founder of the Republican super PAC Crossroad GPS, added that “after the sequester, this fiscal year's federal budget ($3.553 trillion) will still be larger than last year's ($3.538 trillion). Last year, the border was patrolled, emergency responders arrived when called, and airplanes left on time and landed safely.

“The federal budget is now $446 billion, 14 percent bigger than the last annual budget of Mr. Obama's predecessor,” Rove continued. “Washington surely can survive a modest retrenchment of 2.3 percent. Virtually every family, business, state and local government has made deeper cuts than that in recent years.”

By transferring the authority to cabinet secretaries, Rove said, congressional Republicans retain their constitutional oversight authority.

“Using its power of the purse, House committees should summon cabinet secretaries and hold them accountable,” he said.

For instance, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said last week that as many as 5,000 air-traffic controllers would be laid off under the sequester.

“Its budget last year was $75 billion; this year it is $89 billion,” Rove said of the department. “If Mr. LaHood believes he should start accumulating his $600 million in sequester savings by furloughing air-traffic controllers, the House Transportation Committee can ask why he didn't begin by cutting expenditures like Alaska sightseeing trains ($72 million), old-fashioned trolleys in Missouri ($22 million plus) and sidewalks to nowhere in Florida ($1.1 million)?”

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Rove later added: “Giving Mr. Obama flexibility on where to make cuts will temporarily give him greater power. But it will also empower House Republicans, who exercise oversight.

“If Mr. Obama lays off border patrolmen and air-traffic controllers, and undermines military readiness, he'll rile up a public already deeply skeptical of government spending,” Rove said. “If Mr. Obama cuts muscle, voters will wonder why he didn't cut fat.

“Congressional oversight hearings, with their made-for-TV drama, will provide Republicans a highly visible national platform to press for restraining spending and make Mr. Obama stop crying wolf and start governing responsibly,” Rove concluded.

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