Greg Sargent writes today:
The Republican strategy on sequestration has been clear for months now: sequestration is terrific because spending cuts are good…and every specific program cut by sequestration is a terrible injustice that Barack Obama should have avoided.
Many of Missouri’s Republican political contingent, folks like new-minted Rep. Ann Wagner (R-2), who were adamantly unwilling to entertain meaningful compromise when the sequester was still a gleam in the Tea Party’s eye, and who strutted around demanding spending cuts and no, never, under any circumstances, new revenue, are, now that they’ve got their cuts, trying to confuse the issue by talking about “Obama’s sequester.” GOPers are also jumping on specific unpopular and damaging cuts – first they wept about curtailing White House tours and now they’re rending their hair about the furlough of large numbers of air traffic controllers. They want us to believe that they they’re blameless and if the Obama administration only cared enough or were smart enough they’d cut something else instead. But guess what? President Obama is powerless to pick and choose what to cut:
What is happening now is what the law requires, nothing less and nothing more. The president has no choice but to follow it.
Here’s what the laws and the technical analyses say. According to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), 897 non-defense “budget accounts” — and the thousands of “programs, payments and activities” within them — shall be cut by the “same percentage.”
That hasn’t stopped our GOP pols from pretending that it was or is all avoidable. Ann Wagner, for instance, wants us to know that she “offered solutions to replace his [i.e. Obama’s] sequester with responsible cuts and reforms” – which, Wagner being such a reasonable member of the extreme right wing, otherwise known as the GOP, were surely ignored out of pure willfulness, don’t you think?
Another Missouri GOPer, Senator Roy Blunt, has been far cagier. He wants President Obama to really own these Republican spending cuts because, once they go into effect, nobody but nobody is going to like them:
Last week, Blunt introduced the “Essential Services Act of 2013,” which would protect American jobs and public safety by ensuring “essential” federal employees like air traffic controllers continue to provide vital services. The bill, which Senate Democrats blocked as an amendment to the continuing resolution (CR) last month, would give the Obama Administration the flexibility it claims it does not have to apply the same standards used during occurrences of inclement weather or other government shutdowns to the sequestration cuts to each agency.
This effort by Blunt and Wagner to trick us into thinking that that if it weren’t for President Obama and his Democratic minions we could have our budget cake and eat just as well as we always have is just downright silly. As Sargent notes:
… It may be true that no one specifically wants to shut down air traffic control, or the FBI, or food inspections, or the military … but once you start really looking at that list, what you find is that the level of cuts involved mean that something that “nobody” wants to cut will in fact have to be cut.
The truth is that sequestration cuts – which are significant enough already – already represent significantly lower levels of cutting spending than what House Republicans wanted. Some Tea Partiers in the House voted against them because they were not severe enough. And don’t forget: the budgets that Republicans have been voting for, year after year, promise to entirely wipe out non-defense discretionary spending over the long term. All of it.
Now, it’s true that if you ask Republicans whether they support this cut or that cut, at least the ones that affect their supporters, they’ll claim that, no, they only want to do away with waste, fraud, abuse, and foreign aid. But that’s not what their budgets say. It’s not what their rhetoric says, either.
I believe that almost every one of our Missouri GOP House members voted for that GOP budget that would, as Sargent correctly notes, “wipe out non-defense discretionary spending over the long term. All of it.” I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of hearing them squawk now that the chickens they enabled are on their way to Missouri. Is it too much to ask these charlatans to stand up and take responsibility for what they’ve done – not to mention what they’re still trying to do?