Governing is hard. That is, if you ask the leaders in Washington who failed to reach a budget deal to stop the sweeping automatic spending cuts from kicking into effect last Friday. But New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie doesn’t have much sympathy for D.C. lawmakers these days.
Christie slammed leaders in Washington for not resolving the lingering sequester issue by the March 1 deadline–something that he said “should be pretty easy to fix.”
“Real leadership would get this fixed. You get everybody in the room and you fix it, and you don’t let them leave until you fix it,” Christie said at a press conference on Monday. “That’s what real leadership is, not calling a meeting two hours before the thing’s going to hit to have a photo-op in the driveway at the White House. That’s not real leadership. Fix it!”
President Obama rejected the idea he could somehow force congressional leaders to negotiate and find a compromise. “I am not a dictator, I’m the president,” said Obama at a White House press conference on Friday. “Ultimately, if Mitch McConnell or John Boehner say we need to go to catch a plane, I can’t have Secret Service block the doorway, right?” And according to the president, “Jedi mind meld” are also not an option.
Top Republican John Boehner admitted if balancing the budget were easy, it would’ve been done ages ago. In an interview with NBC’s Meet The Press on Sunday, the House Speaker confessed it’s tough to find common ground. “Listen, this is hard. I think the American people understand it’s hard,” he told NBC’s David Gregory. “You know, if solving this spending problem were easy, somebody around here over the last 20 years would have done it. It’s not easy.”
The unyielding philosophies on ways to tackle the debt between Democrats and Republicans–boiled down to increased taxes vs. increased spending cuts–stand in the way of a deal. “There are big disagreements between the two parties in terms of how we address it, but it’s an issue that has to be addressed,” said the Ohio congressman. Boehner said he’s made it his “mission” to address these ongoing fiscal problems, calling it “the greatest threat to our country.”
As to how to make that happen, Boehner doesn’t have an answer: “I don’t think anyone quite understands how it gets resolved.”
Weeks leading up to the deadline, President Obama and his administration warned of serious consequences to government services and national security from these cutbacks. And Americans seemed to take note.
A newly released CBS poll shows that 53% of Americans fear the spending cuts will personally affect them. Their analysis also confirmed the political cost of the sequester cuts. Approximately 38 % of those surveyed blame Republicans in Congress for not reaching an agreement. But President Obama does not come out unscathed either; only trailing the GOP by a few points, 33% said they fault the president over the sequester cuts.