Republicans are trying to blame President Obama for the automatic spending cuts that will kick in via the sequester. They’ve laid the groundwork for this little con as they always do, by repeating it ad nauseam as the premise for their further accusations.
They’ve reached so far into their blame game that they’re quoting Bob Woodward.
The National Review reported that John Boehner took a picture of text from Woodward’s book, The Price of Politics, in which Woodward wrote that then-White House chief of staff Jack Lew introduced the idea of sequestration into the debt-ceiling negotiations. Boehner passed this picture around, and even urged his staffers to replace their avatars with it. Boehner’s even pushing the hashtag “#obamaquester” in hopes of forcing the President to carry the weight of the Republicans’ failure.
If it were true that sequester was Obama’s fault, Boehner wouldn’t have to go to such lengths; however, when the record defies your version of reality, great efforts must be made.
The National Republican Conference Committee issued a statement saying, “Obama owns the sequester. He proposed it. He threatened to veto (any bill) getting rid of it.”
But see, the problem is that we never would have needed the sequester if the Republicans hadn’t decided to hold the country’s economy hostage by refusing to do the most basic task of raising the debt ceiling in order to pay off the things they already voted into existence.
Here’s a refresher on what actually happened. After creating the debt ceiling disaster for no reason other than his inability to control the Tea Party caucus, Boehner admits to walking away from the Grand Bargain with the President.
On August 2, 2011, Congress passed the Budget Control Act of 2011, which provided for The Super Committee. If the Super Committee failed to create legislation to address the cuts originally demanded by the Republicans, the sequester would kick in. The Super Committee ended up failing, and on January 2, 2013, the automatic cuts (“sequestrations”) were supposed to kick in. Those cuts are also known as the fiscal cliff that kept some of us up on New Years Eve waiting for the 2 AM Senate vote and then 11 AM House vote to avert it.
On August 1, 2011 Speaker Boehner told CBS news that he walked away from the Grand Bargain, the President negotiated in good faith, and Republicans got 98% of what they wanted with the Budget Control Act which included the built in sequester.
Transcript from CBS:
Pelley: Give us a little bit of insight. How did the grand bargain fail? What was the breaking point? How did you tell the president you were walking away?
Boehner: It really boiled down to two issues. President was insisting on more taxes. President never got serious about the kind of spending cuts that were necessary in order to get America back on a sound fiscal footing.
Pelley: You don’t think he negotiated in good faith?
Boehner: No, I do believe the president was negotiating in good faith. We had a lot of productive conversations, a lot of tense conversations. But it became pretty clear to me that I wasn’t going to be for higher taxes, and the president wasn’t going to cut spending as he should.
Pelley: What did you say to each other?
Boehner: I told the president I’m not going there. I can’t do that.
Pelley: You were unable to get your own caucus behind your bill a few days ago. Do you intend to remain Speaker of the House?
Boehner: I do. When you look at this final agreement that we came to with the white House, I got 98 percent of what I wanted. I’m pretty happy.
Republicans held the economy hostage and caused the first ever credit downgrade. No matter what cuts Obama offered, they refused. Desperate to come to some agreement with the Republicans before they destroyed the economy, the sequester was born. The Republicans voted to pass the sequester and Boehner crowed that he got 98% of what the Republicans wanted.
Now that the sequester is here, suddenly John Boehner is sending out pictures from Bob Woodward’s book and the Republican Party is desperate to pin the blame for it on Obama.
The sequester is the direct result of the Republican attempt to use the debt ceiling as a weapon of mass economic destruction. Now Republicans are trying to pin the need for the sequester on Obama, which is like blaming someone for putting iron bars on their window after you steal from them.
Ms. Jones is the editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah has won two Telly Awards and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.