Spending Cut Crisis, You Fix It
House Speaker John Boehner had a simple message Wednesday for President Obama after he used the bully pulpit to blame Republicans for the "meat cleaver" of looming spending cuts: You created it, you fix it.
"Having first proposed and demanded the sequester, it would make sense that the president lead the effort to replace it," Boehner wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed.
The "sequester" is the Washington word for the $85 billion in 2013 spending cuts set to hit starting March 1, with more than $1 trillion in cuts on tap over the next decade. Boehner and Obama both agree that the federal budget needs that level of deficit reduction and more, but sharply disagree over how to achieve it. In the absence of any compromise, the set of indiscriminate cuts which would hit the military hardest are set to take hold in less than two weeks.
The president on Tuesday, surrounded by first responders who are among those who would see cutbacks, called on House Republicans to drop their resistance to tax increases and steer the country away from the budget "meat cleaver."
But Boehner reminded Obama that the automatic cut idea was originally proffered by the White House during the debt-ceiling talks of 2011. He said Congress "reluctantly accepted the president's demand" and claimed it's now up to Obama to find the escape hatch.
"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?" Boehner asked.
White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer rejected what he described as "revisionist history." The White House acknowledges the "sequester" came from their office, but argues that Congress was on board at the time...
While Boehner blames Democratic resistance to spending and entitlement cuts, Obama blames GOP resistance to closing tax loopholes...
The back-and-forth was further evidence that the two sides are drifting further apart as the deadline nears, and that chances of a deal in the near-term are fading.
[President] Obama was also dealt a blunt warning by former Republican Sen. Alan Simpson, who co-chaired the president's deficit-reduction commission.
Simpson warned that Obama "will have a failed presidency" unless he deals "honestly" with entitlements, saying programs like Medicare and Social Security must be dealt with in order to get the country on a sustainable path.
"If he wants to leave it alone and not deal with those two biggies, forget the rest of the stuff -- he'll have a failed presidency," Simpson told Fox News.
READ FULL SOURCE ARTICLE: 02/20/2013
Editor's Note: If you are keeping score, if you use the health of the nation as a barometer, i.e. the economy, the societal divide, our stature in the world, our diminishing freedoms and our military capabilities, we'd say Mr. Obama already has a failed presidency...
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