With less than 10 days before the country hits another dramatic deadline over financing the government, the blame-game has already begun. House Speaker John Boehner continued the Republican push to label the country’s looming spending cuts as “Obama’s sequester” in a new Wall Street Journal op-ed.
In the piece published on Wednesday, the Ohio congressman, who once bragged he got 98% of what he wanted in the deal, placed blame squarely on the president. He called the sequester the “product of the president’s own failed leadership.”
Boehner described the sequester fight as the result of calculated inaction by the White House. “President Obama was determined not to face another debt-limit increase before his re-election campaign. Having just blown up one deal, the president scuttled this bipartisan, bicameral agreement. His solution? A sequester,” Boehner wrote.
An unprecedented $1.2 trillion in spending cuts will begin to take effect on March 1, and both sides of the aisles now mostly agree these deep cuts might put the economy back into a recession. Actually doing something to stop it? That’s on the Dems, Boehner said.
“The president’s sequester is the wrong way to reduce the deficit, but it is here to stay until Washington Democrats get serious about cutting spending.” He closed by posing a question to Obama. “So, as the president’s outrage about the sequester grows in coming days, Republicans have a simple response: Mr. President, we agree that your sequester is bad policy. What spending are you willing to cut to replace it?”
Speaker Boehner publicly supported the sequestration before the president signed it into law. The Daily Beast recently dug up a PowerPoint presentation sent out from Boehner’s office to the Capitol Hill GOP on July 31, 2011, laying out support for the sequester.
In recent weeks, President Obama has appealed to the American public in an effort to pressure Congressional Republicans and corner them into renegotiating a deal.
On Wednesday, the president hit the local news circuit in eight media markets, all with a strong military presence, to warn of impending layoffs if the sequester goes into effect. In an interview with Boston ABC affiliate WCVB, Obama said “these automatic spending cuts were designed to be avoided. The idea was that Democrats and Republicans would come together with a sensible deficit-reduction program.”
After returning from its current recess, Congress will have exactly four days to work out a “sensible deficit-reduction program” to avoid the spending cuts that both sides say they don’t want.