Rep. Roskam to Newsmax: Senate Sequester Plan 'Dead On Arrival' In GOP House

Tuesday, 12 Feb 2013 05:32 PM

By John Bachman

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Congressman Peter Roskam, the Chief Deputy Whip in the GOP controlled House of Representatives, tells Newsmax that any budget proposal that comes from the Senate and includes new tax hikes is “dead on arrival.”

During an exclusive interview with Newsmax TV, the Illinois Republican called the newly announced plan by Senate Democrats aimed at preventing automatic spending cuts set to take effect in March “ridiculous.”

Story continues below.



“The president created the impression last December during the fiscal cliff discussions, that somehow if this new revenue stream came in, and if these taxes went up, taxes on the other guy, then somehow it was going to make everything great, that all of our problems were going to go away, that the birds were going to chirp and the tulips were going to come up and the sun was going to shine, but of course if you don’t deal with the underlying expensing drivers, which the president has failed to do, you continue to have a fiscal mess.

“Remember, the sequestration is President Obama’s sequestration, an initiative that the White House pushed, that the White House advocated, that the White House said they were going to veto any remedy to just a few months ago and now the president is pandering and blaming other people. We can do better than that,” Roskam said.

The Democrats’ plan would delay the automatic and across the board sequester cuts until December that total about $85 billion. President Obama, top-level military officials, and defense industry insiders say the cuts would hollow out the Defense Department and cripple national security interests. Other government agencies will be hit hard as well.

“Well there’s no celebration in the sequester, in that it’s an approach that’s pretty much of a meat ax approach to try and govern and across the board anything tends not to be as thoughtful as you’d like.

“Republicans are saying we understand, we need to meet this goal that the $1.2 trillion in savings over 10 years has to happen, we’ve asked him twice to replace the actual cuts with other cuts that are more thoughtful in our view, but up until now the White House is basically saying, talk to the hand,” Roskam said.

When asked about President Obama’s recent comments that reaffirm his unwillingness to include the eligibility age for Medicare in a long-term budget plan, Roskam said: “The president has been of two minds on this very issue because at one point, when he was negotiating with the speaker of the House, he was open to this. That’s been well-documented. And now the president has moved off of that position.

“The reality is that these things will have to be on the table if we’re going to move forward in any sort of thoughtful way to get our economy growing again and get our nation back on a sure fiscal footing.”

Newsmax also asked Roskam about former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s claim that Washington does not have a spending problem.

“She just doesn’t disappoint, does she? Here you have the leader of the Democratic Party in the House of Representatives that insists that there’s no spending problem. You have other Democratic leaders today doubling down on that and, when asked direct questions about whether there’s a spending problem in Washington, they won’t give a straight answer. That’s a diagnosis of a group of people that don’t have a firm grasp on the fiscal reality,” Roskam stated.

And even though the president is expected to call for new government spending programs in his State of the Union Speech Tuesday night, the White House rejected Pelosi’s comments. Roskam said the disagreement shows “there’s a rift” between Obama and Pelosi.

“The president, at least, has to deal with some semblance of reality and what I eluded to a minute ago, where the president was willing, at least in some private negotiations with the speaker of the House, to advocate positions that would have been a little bit more thoughtful. Now he’s obviously backed off from that. But where Nancy Pelosi’s thinking is it’s a mystery to me.”





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