- Boehner says the president is entirely responsible for the sequester, calling it "his sequester" and "the president's sequester," but Boehner shares the blame. After all, he supported the sequester and when it became law said that he had gotten 98 percent of what he wanted.
- Boehner said House Republicans have passed two bills that would replace the sequester, but he fails to mention that both of those bills were passed during the previous Congress—before Republicans lost 20 seats—and are therefore now null and void.
- The reason that the GOP replacement measures were so unpopular isn't hard to understand: They were chock full of savage austerity, raiding food stamps to pay defense contractors.
- The plan was so reactionary that when it came up for a vote in December, it only got 215 votes, all Republican, with 21 GOPers voting no. With the dramatically downsized GOP majority, it simply could not pass today.
- Boehner's statement was supposedly intended to embrace deficit reduction, but on taxes he proposed "lower rates." You don't reduce the deficit by reducing tax rates.
- And finally, the most insane thing of all in his statement: He said the only way to replace the sequester is to pass a plan that will "put us on the path to a budget that is balanced in 10 years." That's so completely crazy that even the insanely draconian sequester replacement plan Republicans passed during the last Congress didn't go that far. The sequester looks like a Keynesian dream compared with a 10-year balanced budget plan. It's simply delusional for Boehner to suggest it now.
Bottom line: The country voted for a more progressive fiscal policy last November, but John Boehner is saying he wants to move the policy to the right. Thanks to gerrymandering, he does have the power to block the majority will by forcing the sequester to take place. But if he thinks we're going to move even further to the right than we already are, he's lost his gourd. And if he doesn't realize that Republicans will pay the price for refusing to compromise on the sequester, he's going to have a rude awakening in November 2014.
Here's Boehner's statement in full:
Today the president advanced an argument Republicans have been making for a year: his sequester is the wrong way to cut spending. That’s why the House has twice passed legislation to replace it with common sense cuts and reforms that won’t threaten public safety, national security, or our economy. But once again, the president offered no credible plan that can pass Congress – only more calls for higher taxes. Just last month, the president got his higher taxes on the wealthy, and he’s already back for more. The American people understand that the revenue debate is now closed. We should close loopholes and carve-outs in the tax code, but that revenue should be used to lower rates across the board. Tax reform is a once-in-a generation opportunity to boost job creation in America. It should not be squandered to enable more Washington spending. Spending is the problem, spending must be the focus.
Washington Democrats’ newfound concern about the president’s sequester is appreciated, but words alone won’t avert it. Replacing the president’s sequester will require a plan to cut spending that will put us on the path to a budget that is balanced in 10 years. To keep these first responders on the job, what other spending is the president willing to cut?