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Republicans Look For Cover On Sequester

Sorry for the continued coverage of the sequester, but its a gift that just keeps on giving. By now, we are all familiar with the “sky is falling” rhetoric that President Obama and the rest of the liberals are sequester-insectspreading all over creation. Even some Republicans, most notably those who are in the National Governors Association, have joined in the call to halt the sequester. No doubt, they are concerned about the budget cuts that may affect their states, but they should be listening, instead, to the facts. The sequester does not involve spending cuts in real dollars. It will just cut the amount of expected growth in different departments and agencies that receive their funding from the federal government.

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Having said that, there is a plan being drafted in the Senate that will give President Obama more flexibility to decide where the supposed cuts will take place. I’m not sure if I favor the plan or not, but the White House has already came out against it. What it will basically do is place the ball in Obama’s court and the blame for anything bad that happens will rest at his feet. Trust me, Obama wants no part of that and Jay Carney is making sure everyone knows it. But, there is trouble stirring in the wings, caused in no small part by the plan being developed by Senators Tom Coburn and Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma and Patrick J. Toomey of Pennsylvania.

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(The New York Times) Congressional Republicans are preparing to counter increasingly dire warnings from President Obama about the impact of automatic budget cuts with a plan to give the administration more flexibility in instituting $85 billion in cuts, a proposal they say could protect the most vital programs while shifting more of the political fallout to the White House.

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The plan is vigorously opposed by the administration, which said Monday that it would do little to soften the blow to military and domestic programs. But it is also dividing Democrats, with lawmakers from the states facing the deepest cuts signaling that they may be prepared to go along with Republicans if it means avoiding indiscriminate cuts to military programs and social services.

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As I said above, I’m not sure if I am in favor of the plan, but it surely is sweet to see the President and all his men scrambling for cover when they realize what this plan will do. Senator John McCain is coming out strongly against the plan, saying it will be ceding congressional authority to the President. I’m not so sure that’s the case. Congress still has to appropriate any money Obama decides to spend and giving him the authority on where to apply the cuts that are supposedly part of the sequester seems like a logical choice to me. The President has bombed the airwaves for days with his claims that the sequester will cause massive layoffs, delays at airports, reduce firefighting efforts, (fill in the blank with your own catastrophe). If he is so certain those things will take place, then give him the ball and let him run with it. If he fumbles that ball, then the consequences will rest solely on him.

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As for the cuts themselves, leave it to Tom Coburn to find where they could be applied to correct government waste. He wasted no time sending his own recommendations to the White House Budget office.

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Republicans were also taking steps to show that $85 billion is not hard to find.

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[Coburn]fired off a letter to the White House budget office pointing to current job openings in the government that could go unfilled: staff assistant at the Labor Department to answer telephones, salary range $51,630 to $81,204; 10 drivers for the State Department, $22.76 to $26.45 an hour; and director for Air Force History and Museum Policies and Programs, up to $165,300 a year.

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“Are any of these positions more important than an air traffic controller, a Border Patrol officer, a food inspector, a T.S.A. screener or a civilian supporting our men and women in combat in Afghanistan?” the senators’ letter asked the acting White House budget chief, Jeffrey Zients.

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So, to anyone who says the cuts in the sequester are the end of the world, I say hogwash. Does anyone really believe the smart folks in Washington can not find 2.4% to cut out of a $3 trillion budget? I know I don’t and anyone who believes it can’t be done without causing all manner of catastrophes on a federal and state level needs to step back and take another look. I would classify that as a lie on the “Pants on Fire” level. It simply isn’t true, no matter what the President and his liberal minions try to tell us. It isn’t even true if the Republican governors declare it to be so. Yes, Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin is among that number, and even though I voted for her, I still disagree.

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Feel free to let me know in the comments if you agree or disagree with the plan to give the Republicans political cover on the sequester. I really am interested in what you think about this.

About LD Jackson

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LD Jackson has written 2053 posts in this blog.

Founder and author of the political and news commentary blog Political Realities. I have always loved to write, but never have I felt my writing was more important than in this present day. If I have changed one mind or impressed one American about the direction our country is headed, then I will consider my endeavors a success. I take the tag line on this blog very seriously. Above all else, in search of the truth.

  • Giving more power to Obama is definitely not the answer the Republicans should be looking for.

  • I’d like to see the “flexibility” plan in a bill to include the authority to offload some of the sequester defense cuts to other areas, and a more realistic phase in over, say, two or three years for all cuts to take effect (say a minimum of 1/3 each year). This would be a chance for real, planned spending reduction instead of posturing, and put the onus on the administration, taking “blame the Repubs” politics out of the equation. If Obama wants to veto such a bill and shoulder the blame for the full and immediate sequester, it’s his call.

    • I wouldn’t be against a plan like that. I am fully convinced Obama has no intention of letting this manufactured crisis go to waste, at least not without blaming the Republicans. That tactic does need to be removed from the equation, but it can’t be done with a fight. Obama likes things as they are because he believes he can continue the blame game and get away with it. The plan being drafted now would put the ball squarely in his court.

  • Normally I would not be in favor of giving Obama more power but this might be an exception because it will make him directly responsible for where the cuts come. If Social Security or military pay gets cut is will be because that is what Obama chose to cut and I kind of like putting him on the spot. Right now he can let others take the blame for the cuts, but if this plan goes through he won’t be able to do so. The fact that he is against it tells me he is afraid of this idea and that makes me like it even more.

    • If this plan makes it through Congress, it will be against the wishes of the White House. I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see Obama veto any such legislation, if it makes it to his desk. It’s just too easy to blame the Republicans for all of this and he isn’t about to give up that gift.

  • I’d be surprised if the GOP caved at this point. Well, let be step back. I think there’s a 50% chance the GOP caves, which is a lot lower than I would have said a week or two ago.

  • Larry what just fries my “6m. over this sequester is and most importantly is the BHO administration is literally toying with the lives of the men and women of the United States Border Patrol.

    The Agents are at risk of losing 40% of their salary. How are they to make ends meet. Some Agents are selling off what they can to make an attempt to ride this out.

    The sequester was the brain child of BHO, he started it and he signed it into law. Now he wants to blame it own the republicans.

    I blame the whole lot of them. If congress wanted to solve this they would. If they truly had our country’s best interest at heart, an agreement would have made. If BHO wanted HIS PARTY to reach an agreement, they would have done so.

    What each party, Congress & the president are doing is embarrassing to say the very least. BHO and his childish attitude is allowing our National Security to crumble before our very eyes.

    We have had more incursions by Russia than I care to think of. Just recently two Russian bear bombers with nukes toyed with our two F15 fighter jets as they were escorted from over Guam. Also a Russian attack sub spent 30 days in the Gulf of Mexico undetected.

    Yet with all of that BHO and CONGRESS do not want to unite for the common good of our precious country. We are in trouble.

    May God help us all.

    • I have no doubt that President Obama has no intention of making it easier on the agencies that should have priority. That should be his job, to prioritize, but he’s made it clear he isn’t interested And you are right; Congress should have solved this problem two years ago and forced the President’s hand. Far too many of them wanted to kick the can and now we have this.

      Truly, we are in trouble when our government is so completely polarized and divided that we can not accomplish something that is so important.

  • My hunch is that there is no way we can win this. His spin machine will go into overdrive. No one is talking about the fact that the House has passed two bills that the senate could take up and modify as they see fit.