The White House has warned of the devastation that would result from sequestration:
The White House warned Friday that allowing the $85 billion sequester to happen would devastate the economy and disrupt the everyday lives of millions of people.
In a move intended to intensify pressure on Congress to prevent looming spending cuts set for March 1, White House officials told reporters the cuts would hamper law enforcement, hurt federal education programs, withhold mental health services and furlough thousands of workers.
One horrible thing after another would come to pass:
In a fact sheet, the administration said some 373,000 “seriously mentally ill adults” and “emotionally disturbed children” would go untreated because of cuts in health care spending. Thousands of fewer food safety inspections would occur, and the FBI would see a workforce reduction of some 1,000 agents.
Social safety net programs for the poor would be among the hardest hit by the sequester. More than half a million women and children would be dropped from food assistance programs, and 125,000 low-income families receiving rental assistance would lose their aid. Recipients of long-term unemployment would see benefits decrease by an average of $400, and more than 100,000 formerly homeless people would be removed from their current housing and emergency shelter programs.
Programs for seniors — including federally-assisted programs like Meals on Wheels and offices that process Social Security and Medicare claims — could see stark cutbacks. And while most Americans are unlikely to mourn the cuts to the Internal Revenue Service that would reduce the number of audits performed, the Justice Department would furlough hundreds of federal prosecutors responsible for trying criminal crimes.
Oh the humanity:
The White House also argued that sequestration would lead to the loss of hundreds of thousands of federal and contracting jobs and deal a blow to the overall economy, pointing to recent fourth-quarter gross domestic product projections — dragged down by a slowing of defense spending — as evidence of the danger.
Now for a little history. Barack Obama signed the sequester bill into law on August 2, 2011
This is a law Obama wanted:
PRESIDENT OBAMA: “Already, some in Congress are trying to undo these automatic spending cuts. My message to them is simple: No. I will veto any effort to get rid of those automatic spending cuts to domestic and defense spending. There will be no easy off ramps on this one. We need to keep the pressure up to compromise – not turn off the pressure.”
The harsh cuts came from the White House:
“The book ‘The Price of Politics,’ by Washington Post Associate Editor Bob Woodward, makes it clear the idea for the draconian spending cuts originated in the White House – and not in Congress … Woodward describes the behind-the-scenes haggling last year that laid the groundwork for sequestration.” (“Bob Woodward Book Could Bolster Republican Attack On W.H.,” Politico, 9/7/12)
WOODWARD: “Lew, Nabors, Sperling and Bruce Reed, Biden’s chief of staff, had finally decided to propose using language from the 1985 Gramm-Rudman-Hollings deficit reduction law as the model for the trigger.” (Bob Woodward, “The Price Of Politics,” Pgs. 339-340, 2012)
WOODWARD: “At 2:30 p.m. [on July 27] Lew and Nabors went to the Senate to meet with Reid and his chief of staff, David Krone. ‘We have an idea for the trigger,’ Lew said. ‘What’s the idea?’ Reid asked skeptically. ‘Sequestration.’ … Well, it could work, Lew and Nabors explained.” (Bob Woodward, “The Price Of Politics,” Pg. 326, 2012)
And they targeted the military specifically:
WOODWARD: “Well, it could work, Lew and Nabors explained. What would the impact be? They would design it so that half the threatened cuts would be from the Defense Department. ‘I like that,’ Reid said. ‘That’s good.’”
Obama: Save the country from me:
“So let me just repeat: Our economy right now is headed in the right direction, and it will stay that way as long as there aren’t any more self-inflicted wounds coming out of Washington. So let’s keep on chipping away at this problem together, as Democrats and Republicans, to give our workers and our businesses the support that they need to thrive in the weeks and months ahead.”
The irony abounds:
Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, says the sequester was President Obama’s idea: “He proposed it and he insisted it be a part of the 2011 debt limit deal. House Republicans have voted twice to replace the arbitrary and harmful sequestration cuts with targeted, common-sense spending reductions that do not threaten our national security. Unfortunately, Senate Democrats rejected those plans, offering no replacement solutions of their own.
“While it is encouraging to see that the president now agrees that his sequestration plan is ‘harmful’ and ‘economically damaging,’ his call for higher taxes on hard-working American families will only serve to discourage economic growth.”
“…HIS sequestration plan…”
This fiscal cliff- this sequestration- is something Obama wanted and Obama signed into law. The GOP must remind people of it.
Let it happen.
Make him own it. Tie whatever happens to Obama. If it devastates the lives of millions of people and disrupts the economy, let Obama explain why he wanted it. Let the media ask Obama why he wanted the sequester. Let the media ask him why he signed it into law. Let the media ask Harry Reid why he wanted it.
Obama played chicken with the debt ceiling in 2006 and now he is playing chicken again, this time with sequestration.
The GOP has Obama’s fate in its hands. He wanted this. Give it to him.