State of the Union Fact or Fiction: Who's Responsible for Sequestration?
By Leigh Claffey
February 13, 2013
“In 2011, Congress passed a law saying that if both parties couldn’t agree on a plan to reach our deficit goal, about a trillion dollars’ worth of budget cuts would automatically go into effect this year…. That’s why Democrats, Republicans, business leaders, and economists have already said that these cuts, known here in Washington as ‘the sequester,’ are a really bad idea…” (President Obama, State of the Union Address, February 12, 2013)
Yes, President Obama, these cuts are a “really bad idea” - YOUR really bad idea.
During the debt limit negotiations in 2011, Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid and Speaker Boehner brought a plan to the White House and the president opposed the bipartisan plan unless the sequester was added. In fact, the White House insisted on sequester being included in the Budget Control Act.
Now the president is looking to Congress to clean up his mistake. Well, in May of 2012, House Republicans passed TWO bills replacing the president’s sequester with responsible cuts and reforms; the Sequester Replacement Reconciliation Act (H.R. 5652) and the Spending Reduction Act (H.R.6684). These bills focused on stopping waste, fraud, and abuse in federal programs, eliminating government slush funds, reducing waste and duplication in government bureaucracies.
Senate Democrats haven’t voted on a plan to replace the sequester, and haven’t passed a budget for almost four years. In his address, President Obama transitions from sequester to Medicare cuts and raising taxes, but nowhere in there does he address how he’ll fix sequestration. So far from him we have no budget (late for the fourth time in five years) and no plan on how to replace the cuts that affect our nation’s security.
So you are right. The sequestration was a really bad idea. It’s just that it was your bad idea. So for that, I rate your statement as HALF FACT/HALF FICTION.
Leigh Claffey is Congressman Westmoreland's deputy press secretary.