House Republicans are so desperate to avoid being held accountable for their sequester that they are asking President Obama to save them.
Transcript from ABC’s This Week:
STEPHANOPOULOS: Congressman Rogers let’s begin. Are the — is the harm as great as the president suggests?
ROGERS: Well, there will be impact on national security, there is no doubt. And I think there’s some misnomers. So it’s really only 2 cents on the dollar over the whole federal budget, but they’ve scrunched that down into seven months and highlighted, or at least put most of the burden on the Defense Department. So that is going to have an impact. That’s a 13 percent cut.
The best way to get through this, I mean we can point fingers. We can get all through this. The best way to do it is just allow flexibility. If you allow flexibility you don’t have to shut down the carrier…
STEPHANOPOULOS: I wanted to bring that to Congressman Engel, because the White House has been resisting having this flexibility.
ENGEL: Well, you know, I think the sequester was a stupid thing. I voted against it when it first time came up. Congress keeps kicking the can down the road. It’s really a ridiculous thing to do.
The fact is that we need to do things that are smart, not take a meat cleaver and just hack cuts.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So should the White House accept this call from Republicans in congress to have more flexibility over where to hit with the cuts and when?
ENGEL: I think congress should sit down and avoid the sequester. And if the sequester kicks in, for a week or go, we should then fix it so it doesn’t become a permanent thing.
Rep. Rogers’ comments did not come out of the blue. The Washington Examiner reported that House Republican leaders are trying to give away their power on the sequester to Obama, “Those conversations are happening and they’re happening at a leadership level. The bill would not try to replace the cuts, [but] it would instead give the president maximum authority to prioritize.”
They are trying this because they want to be able to blame Obama for any of the cuts that he might choose to make. Any defense cuts that the president made would be met with cries from Republicans that Obama doesn’t care about national security. House Republicans know that if the sequester cuts go into effect, they could lose control of the House. This real possibility is why Republican leaders are virtually begging the president to take their power away from them.
It is unlikely that the White House would entertain for a second taking responsibility for the cuts without asking for something big in return. That something would be more revenue. The White House would make it hurt by demanding a lot more revenue than is on the table right now.
Notice that Democratic Rep. Engel mentioned letting the sequester kick in, and then fixing it later. The message in that statement was clear. Democrats aren’t going allow House Republicans to weasel out of their responsibility for the sequester. Contrary to the BS that Bob Woodward is selling, Republicans like Paul Ryan have been pushing for the sequester since 2004.
House Republicans created this mess in 2011. They are now trying to pass the buck to President Obama, so that they can blame him for it later. Their latest move represents the sort of cynical, shallow, superficial tactics that the nation has learned to expect from the House leadership.
In a desperate effort to avoid being held accountable for their own actions, House Republicans are asking President Obama to save them from themselves.
Republicans have been looking for a way to blame Obama for the sequester since their latest attempt at a fiscal crisis started. What we are seeing today is a last ditch desperate gasp from party that is drowning in its own ideology and incompetence.
President Obama should laugh in their faces.
Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association