IT’S NOT MY SEQUESTER—HONEST

3/13/13
Obama misleads by trying to disown sequester plan his team conceived, and lays blame on GOP for sequester they invented. The truth is both parties are responsible for the sequester: the White House for conceiving the concept and Republicans for voting for it. “As long as the sequesters in place, we’ll know that that economic news could have been better if Congress had not failed to act.”
But as journalist Bob Woodward noted in an op-ed in The Washington Post, the idea of sequestration originated inside the White House and was approved by the president. Woodward provides exquisite detail from the reporting on his latest book to back up his assertion. “The automatic spending cuts were initiated by the White House and were the brainchild of [then OMB-Director Jack Lew].
Obama “personally approved” sending the plan to Congress. His reporting even provided the exact time the White House briefed Congress on the plan: 2:30 p.m. EDT on July 27, 2011. And the sequester became law as part of the Budget Control Act of 2011. And if you propose it, and it becomes law, you have to own it. And for a while, the president did own the sequester. In November 2011, Obama vowed to veto any effort to eliminate the sequester cuts in the absence of a broader deal. “I will veto any effort to get rid of those automatic spending cuts,” the president said. “The only way to get rid of those cuts is to get Congress to come together and work on a deal.”
“The reason we are here is because some members of Congress have made a choice to prioritize these cuts over closing tax loopholes for the wealthy. For failing to take ownership of an unpopular political solution, the worst examples of government fibs, lies, truth stretching and unwarranted finger pointing. The administration has also done its best to wrap the sequester in the language of impending doom, drawing out specific examples of the consequences of spending cuts.
“Border Patrol agents will see their hours reduced. FBI agents will be furloughed. Federal prosecutors will have to close cases and let criminals go, difficulty in handling a high volume of cases with budget cuts likely forcing federal prosecutors to work fewer hours. But officials do have discretion over where the cuts will be made, prosecutors might trim back on pursuing civil complaints, but criminal offenses would be unaffected.
Education Secretary Arne Duncan also got into the act. “There are literally teachers now who are getting pink slips, who are getting notices that they can’t come back this fall,” The fact that schools will have less money is, frankly, nothing new to deal with. The nation’s education sector has been dealing with decreased resources for a while, exacerbated by the recession. But most of school funds are raised and spent at the local and state levels, leaving those officials in charge of decisions. The choice to lay off teachers is at the state’s discretion, not the federal government’s. It’s unclear exactly how many teachers’ employment might be affected by cuts at the Education Department.
Source—washington gurardian, phillip swarts, john solomon

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