In the House Oversight Committee hearing which started Tuesday on the problems in the Secret Service as it has failed repeatedly to protect the First Family, the Secret Service blamed the sequestration budget cuts for cuts in staffing.
Bloomberg News writer Del Quentin Wilber tweeted:
— Del Quentin Wilber (@DelWilber) September 30, 2014
This number, she said, was below “optimal level”. Julia Pierson was just appointed as Director of the Secret Service a year and a half ago by President Obama. She was not in charge when the 2011 breach occurred, during which the First Daughters were placed in peril as bullets hit the White House residence. Sasha Obama was in the residence as this happened, while Malia was expected home shortly. The Secret Supervisor ordered agents who were prepared to do battle against the breach to stand down, claiming the noise they heard wasn’t gunfire but the backfire of a vehicle.
Pierson told The New York Times that she would “leave no stone unturned. I am committed to a full and robust fact-finding that allows me to look at what went wrong.”
The sequestration cuts are a result of the House never sitting down with the Senate to reconcile the budget. It was allegedly put into place in order to keep folks from walking away from the negotiation table, but meanwhile, Republicans were championing sequestration as the solution long before it was implemented, and while denying credit in mainstream press, taking a bow for it on Fox News.
Paul Ryan bragged on Fox News in August of 2011 of the sequestration cuts, “We actually got discretionary caps in law. I’ve been fighting for these spending caps ever since the day I came to Congress. We couldn’t even get these kinds of spending caps in the Bush administration.”
Ryan continued, speaking directly about his pleasure in cutting money to government agencies like the Secret Service, “What conservatives like me have been fighting for, for years are statutory caps on spending, legal caps in law that says government agencies cannot spend over a set amount of money.”
On Nov. 11, 2011, the First Daughters were put into peril due to an unthinkable security breach and further stand down order.
Former Republican Representative Eric Cantor admitted that he and former Vice Presidential nominee Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI) were the driving force behind the sequestration cuts. Republican Jack Kingston introduced sequestration as GOP “reform” in 2010.
Republicans tried to blame President Obama for the sequester after it turned into a political disaster, but the discovery of a 2011 PowerPoint presentation that Speaker John Boehner gave to Republicans detailing his sequester idea killed that mid deployment. The White House has had a plan on the table since December of 2012 to deal with sequestration to no avail.
The sequestration cuts were wild and brash, with no thought they just slashed the budget. The results have been nothing short of disastrous for many federal agencies, including the Veterans Administration and the IRS.
While sequestration is not the only reason for the terrifying failures of the Secret Service to protect the First Family, it does take money to run things. It takes money to pay good people– a concept that Republicans tout when it excuses Wall Street bonuses in the millions while refusing to raise the minimum wage.
But when it comes to all things government, from Medicare to Social Security to food stamps to the Veterans Administration to the Secret Service, Republicans can’t stop themselves from starving the beast and thereby imposing the chaos of an uncivilized land.
Meanwhile, it was just revealed that the man who jumped the fence earlier this month and gained entry to the White House got further than previously reported. The Secret Service can’t afford to be down 550 people.
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.