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Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) walks with House Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) to a meeting with House Republicans on the
Yeah, it's insane, but to be fair, it's hard not to sound insane as leader of the House GOP
House Speaker John Boehner has now offered his response to President Barack Obama's call for a sequester compromise (full text below the fold) and it's actually quite insane. Consider:
  • 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?

Originally posted to The Jed Report on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 09:36 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Congressmen have tin ears, generally. (9+ / 0-)

    One of the more irritating habits is to talk as if they were passive observers on some punditry level, talking about proposals that would never pass congress as if congress were someone other than themselves.  Boner, for example, doesn't talk about his own role in congress or in getting things passed or preventing things from passing, except to pile on impossible conditions while congress isn't even in session.  It's why people hate congress.  One of the reasons, anyway.

    That's not even "gun control". It's more like "massacre control".

    by Inland on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 09:52:08 AM PST

    •  I think Boehner is trying to be clever with this (0+ / 0-)

      maneuver.  Remember, Paul Ryan has promised to produce a budget which balances in 10 years.  I am certain he has already included the sequester cuts as part of his plan.  If you take that out, his already impossible task of producing such a budget becomes just a joke.

      So Boehner is trying to get President Obama to join the GOP in their austerity boat to hell.

      This is the real reason the GOP must allow the sequester.  They have backed themselves into a corner and, country be damned, they intend to stay there.

      •  Maybe a very smart tax plan (0+ / 0-)

        that takes into account all the cuts the administration has made to date, and is willing to make, but honestly looks at trading taxes, sunsetting as much as possible all present tax loopholes, adding an incremental increase to fuel taxes of 2 or 3 cents per year until all transportation and green technology needs are fully funded, likewise placing an incremental increase on taxes for luxury goods, non-generic pharmaceuticals, marijuana, imported goods otherwise produced in the US, etc.

        Present the most comprehensive and wholly balanced plan that includes robust and SMART new revenues and that CLEARLY has the potential to balance the budget in 10 years.

        Bargain from a place of exaggerated strength, just like they do, but make it look 10 times smarter and honestly progressive.

        One mistake democrats have made in negotiations with the GOP is in ceding their own territory. A bold new statement of what it honestly could and perhaps ought to be might be a timely declaration.

        I have no real expertise in tax matters and the list above is off the top of my head, but the gist is there...

        "We must not confuse absolutism for principle." - Barack Obama

        by Beastly Fool on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 05:30:02 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  So the plan is balance budget by 2023 (16+ / 0-)

    without any additional taxes...

    Good Luck With That.

    Murray if she was smart would get ahead and throw in a bomb....something like, the only way to achieve this is through privatizing Medicare OR Single Payer Health Care.

    Boehner has forced our hand.  We choose Single Payer.

    Or something like that.  Use his insanity as an anchor.

    "Small Businesses Don't Build Levees" - Melissa Harris Perry

    by justmy2 on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 09:55:15 AM PST

  •  Blaming Obama will not work. (14+ / 0-)

    Once again, the House Rs are the Democrat's allies when it comes to the 2014 election.   People will learn what teh cost of savage austerity is and Obama and the Dems will smash Rs, even with their gerrymandered seats, in Novemebr 2014.  Yes, we can!

    Join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news and views written from a black pov—everyone is welcome.

    by TomP on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 09:59:45 AM PST

    •  Blaming Obama (5+ / 0-)

      Placing blame on Obama before anything bad happens tells me that Boehner is planning to let something bad happen. He's going to metaphorically shoot the hostages and blame the cops. He's going to let the sequester take place and hope it's so awful that people blame the White House. Anything to gain partisan advantage, the country be damned.

      The Bush Family: 0 for 4 in Wisconsin

      by Korkenzieher on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 11:46:06 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  That's also why they're calling it (0+ / 0-)

        "the President's sequester", "Obamaquester", etc.

        I suggest, for good measure, we refer to it as "the republiquester". It may not be fully accurate, but it isn't like they haven't done the same.

        I believe in democracy, civil liberties, and the rule of law. That makes me a liberal, and I’m proud of it. - Paul Krugman

        by Gentle Giant on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 12:08:30 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  EVERY response to a republican (11+ / 0-)

    linking  or calling this the Obama sequester should in the first sentence state unequivically  that the sequester is the  ransom paid by the American  people so as not  to have destroyed the full faith and credit of the United States  in the debt ceiling debacle of 2011. If we don't start off with that every time, soon by dint of repetition, it WILL beome linked to Obama  as wrong as that is!

  •  Blame Boehner, blame Boehner, blame Boehner! (12+ / 0-)

    From sunup to sundown, Blame Boehner.

    The American people need this drilled into them so that they don't forget, and so that Republicans cannot wish away the facts.

    Blame Boehner!

    Please proceed, governor

    by Senor Unoball on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 10:04:47 AM PST

  •  fine. let it hit, then pass new laws to replace (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shoeless, tb mare

    the social spending after harnessing the communal outrages the cuts will inspire, and leave the military cuts in place to help our long-term fiscal picture while making it harder for us to act aggressively on the international stage. Done and done.

    "You try to vote or participate in the government/ and the muh'fuckin' Democrats is actin' like Republicans" ~ Kweli -8.00, -6.56

    by joey c on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 10:11:15 AM PST

  •  I am just going to keep saying this (7+ / 0-)

    The calm "balanced approach" press conferences need to end.
    It's high time someone got angry and started throwing down executive orders, or at the very least executive "statements" that specifically names names of who exactly is fucking over our economy for political gain.

    Organizing is what you do before you do something, so that when you do it, it is not all mixed up. A. A. Milne

    by hulibow on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 10:16:42 AM PST

    •  Targeted shutdowns (7+ / 0-)

      I kind of wish Obama would target any ill effects from the sequester in districts whose Congressmen back Boehner. Leave Nancy Pelosi's San Francisco airport alone, and close Boehner's hometown airport in Cincinnati...and coincidentally, the Cincinnati airport is actually in Mitch McConnell's home state. That kind of thing would be interesting to try. If Obama can personalize the pain, make the people who vote for these jerks scream, maybe then we'd get better decisions on Capitol Hill.

      Okay, probably not, but we could try it anyway.

      The Bush Family: 0 for 4 in Wisconsin

      by Korkenzieher on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 11:52:06 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I get sick of the people (5+ / 0-)

    who forced the sequester by insane obstruction and grandstanding pretending that it is someone else's fault.  But being sick of Republicans has become a way of life, not an illness.

    Let Boehner put out his balanced budget. The House after all is the spending/taxing body in the government.  They should do their jobs.

  •  A very good idea, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blue aardvark

    so is paying off your mortgage in five years. What does he think about having people like Romney pay their fair share? Dismantling the Empire?

  •  OK, then (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Van Buren

    The House must put forward a budget which balances in 10 years according to economists not employed by the Republican Party (not Heritage, AEI, Cato, ...).

    And they must pass it.

    And then we'll refuse it and they will own both their proposed cuts and the consequences of the sequester.

    Anyone got some popcorn salt? My salt mine has been worked out.

    Economics is a social *science*. Can we base future economic decisions on math?

    by blue aardvark on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 11:15:49 AM PST

  •  What's the over under (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ron Thompson

    On when O will cave?  Feb 26 is my guess on when he lurches to the right.

    •  not in this case, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      is my guess. Both sides are talking as if they expect the sequester to happen, and they're just laying blame.

      From the WH perspective, the sequester is pretty good. (The WH is more pro-austerity than most people on dKos.)

      •  Respectfully, ferg--I "definitely" hope you are (0+ / 0-)

        correct.  I promise, I'll eat "major crow" if the Administration allows sequestration, LOL.

        But, I can't imagine that the Administration won't 'strike a big deal' to avoid this.

        They would never have proposed anything this drastic in order to stop discretionary cuts (also meaning the kind of cuts that they don't want), to just give in, now.

        Boy, do I hope I'm wrong.  I would rather see cuts to DOD, than to social insurance programs.

        Guess we'll know soon.  :-)


        "Only he who can see the invisible, can do the impossible." --Frank L. Gaines

        "If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson

        by musiccitymollie on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 03:03:59 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  MA not looking forward to cuts... (0+ / 0-)

    There is no Article II power which says the Executive can violate the Constitution.--@Hugh * Addington's Perpwalk: TRAILHEAD of Accountability for Bush-2 Crimes.

    by greenbird on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 11:26:48 AM PST

  •  I believe Boehner has another presser scheduled (4+ / 0-)

    for later today where he will announce he's found WMD in Iraq.

    If the NRA can't take a bite out of crime with 300 Million guns, why do they think having even more will help?

    by here4tehbeer on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 11:27:24 AM PST

  •  Why so we can pay for Newt's Moonbase (0+ / 0-)

    I want 1 less Tiny Coffin, Why Don't You? Support The President's Gun Violence Plan.

    by JML9999 on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 11:32:03 AM PST

  •  It is possible to have a balanced budget... (2+ / 0-)

    by 2023.

    Just not by cutting spending.

    It is possible to have a balanced budget by 2014.

    Just not by cutting spending.

    What a pile of political horse puckey Boehner spewed.

    Some bright member of the House Progressive Caucus should put forth a budget plan that balances the budget by October 2014.  And grows the economy (hint: that's the key point).

    50 states, 210 media market, 435 Congressional Districts, 3080 counties, 192,480 precincts

    by TarheelDem on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 11:36:55 AM PST

  •  Seems like GOP is still operating under the theory (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brooke In Seattle, TomP

    that if they obstruct, economy will fail, people will be hurting, and folks will blame the Democrats come election time.

    Tired of these pie fights.  We need a way forward.

  •  2023 (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brooke In Seattle, Mr MadAsHell

    What's magic about 2023? What happens then?

    The correct answer is nothing. It's another arbitrary deadline, another line drawn in the sand that will soon be erased by one of Washington's frequent sandstorms. Nothing these *ssholes say has any meaning whatsoever.

    The Bush Family: 0 for 4 in Wisconsin

    by Korkenzieher on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 11:42:11 AM PST

    •  Respectfully, there's only a two-year difference (0+ / 0-)

      (according to IL Rep Jan Schakowsky) between when the Repubs and the Administration are calling for "a balanced budget."

      Here's the excerpt:

      As a member of the Commission, Rep. Schakowsky voted against the proposal and released an alternative proposal (to Bowles-Simpson's proposal) that met and exceeded the President’s goal of reaching primary budget balance in 2015.

      [Here's the link to Schakowsky's website.]

      IMHO, I think that it would be better to focus on "where" the cuts will come from, rather than the 10-year budget deadline.   :-)


      "Only he who can see the invisible, can do the impossible." --Frank L. Gaines

      "If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson

      by musiccitymollie on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 02:35:15 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Let's start campaigning for a House of Reps. that (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TomP, KayCeSF

    will actually work to solve problems instead of obstruct.  Democratic Candidates for the House need to target House seats NOW and make a point to protest EVERY block any Republican makes.  Make 'em eat their words in 2014.

  •  Could be wrong, but this could be the 1st GOP step (0+ / 0-)

    on the path to caving in on sequestration---at a minimum the old kick the can down the road ploy.

    "They will not collect a ransom in exchange for not crashing the American economy. The full faith and credit of the United States of America is not a bargaining chip."

    by TofG on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 11:44:00 AM PST

  •  Someone needs to tell him 2012 is over (2+ / 0-)

    DWOL, the chance you and Yertle the Filibuster Turtle had of making Obama a one-term President is over. You failed. Miserably. And all you're doing in causing more damage to your already shitty brand. If the sequester kicks in and causes economic harm, you will get the blame. And you will pay for it.

    But for course, Drinky McTansaLot doesn't think.

  •  Stock transaction tax (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ferg, Aythem, spritegeezer

    I'd like to see the stock transaction tax enacted and also the elimination of the Star Wars program as starters.

  •  Wait until "the media" gets ahold of this: (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PorridgeGun, spritegeezer, KayCeSF
    After all, he supported the sequester and when it became law said that he had gotten 98 percent of what he wanted.
    Still waiting..

    No they duly report the He said - She said tired old routine and blithely go on pretending to be journalists.

  •  If Boehner allows an up/down vote the sequester (0+ / 0-)

    will be repealed.  It's all on his head.
    We deserve a vote, Speaker Boehner!

  •  Boehner wants to compromise to the Ryan budget (0+ / 0-)

    He hopes we have all forgotten history.

    His current proposal hopes that, in contrast, the Ryan budget
    will look like something from Paul Krugman, and that the Dems will gladly concede.

    Boehner Fails Again.

  •  Message to Boehner:stfu and get back to work (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tb mare, KayCeSF

    Our congress is broken and they decide to go on vacation..while the rest of the country is busy working jobs,double jobs just to make ends meet. Lets sequester congress' pay:  no workee no payee....

  •  Not a problem.... (0+ / 0-)

    Just submit legislation for a 5% financial transaction tax and we can balance the budget this year...

    Fox News, The triumph of stupidity over reason.

    by laughingriver on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 11:56:35 AM PST

  •  The Sequester is going to happen (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gentle Giant

    that is what this tells me.

    The GOP has concluded that they think they can successfully blame the fallout on the President, so, as long as they feel the nation's agony will fall on Obama, fuck the country and bring on 2014! (They're fucking assholes, have been for a long time, so this should shock nobody in DC. Yet. Somehow. It always does.)

    The gambit that the Defense cuts would surely make the GOP eager to cut a deal looks pretty dead wrong, just like the idea that the Sequester itself was so awful that it would almost certainly be avoided as an outcome before the deadline.

    The only thing that is up in the air is who is going to win the blame game.

    Here's a thought. If you are going into a fight trying to create a situation where your hook, your guaranteed to succeed gimmick, is that the outcome of not doing x, y, or z will be so awful by design that there will be no other choice but to cut a deal.... fucking buy a clue.

    Future Self-Blackmail has now been refuted as a viable technique several times in a row now.

    I am from the Elizabeth Warren and Darcy Burner wing of the Democratic Party

    by LeftHandedMan on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 12:01:02 PM PST

    •  I don't believe the GOP is right (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tb mare

      I don't believe for a second that the GOP will successfully tar Obama with all, or even most, of the blame for the fallout from the Sequester.

      What I worry about is if the Wanker Karnaks on the Hill are dead wrong about how bad the Sequester will be on the jobs loss front.

      I keep hearing a million jobs. A million jobs lost.

      What if, say, that is being conservative and its actually three or four million jobs that gets lost post Sequester?

      Fuck the blame game at that point.

      Then we are back to pre-2008 days and I think the blow to the nation's psyche will be pretty severe. The blame not falling exclusively on Obama will be a cool sip of vinegar after a shit salad sandwhich at that point.

      The fact that the GOP is hoping for the worst worst case scenario to gain from it in 2014 is just sociopaths being sociopaths.

      Hopefully this gutwrenching nightmare of a mess puts an end to the era of non-Movement Conservatives thinking that either blackmailing, or hamstringing, their immediate future selves is a viable tactic for a good outcome for dealing with hard issues.

      I am from the Elizabeth Warren and Darcy Burner wing of the Democratic Party

      by LeftHandedMan on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 12:11:04 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Republican House Seats Lost In 2012 (0+ / 0-)

    before Republicans lost 20 seats

         Wow, I sure missed that. Here, I thought they only lost eight.

  •  this sickens me (0+ / 0-)

    I am so tired of being angry, pissed off, outraged over these Republican traitors and economic nihilists. My outrage well is full. Even if we could take back the house in 2014 (still a long shot, I know), we still have to deal with this House for 2 years. I just cant take this shit anymore!!

  •  Sequestration = GOP savage austerity (0+ / 0-)

    Every time sequestration comes up, call it "GOP savage austerity".  Burn the message in.  The GOP wants sequestration.  They want to cut social spending more than anything.  Sure, they don't want to cut welfare spending that benefits the biggest welfare queens in the universe, the military industrial complex.  But what they really, really want for all of us little folks is savage austerity.  So tie savage austerity around those GOP necks and make them own it.

    •  The GOP is actually after what they can get out (0+ / 0-)

      of "negotiated cuts to avoid" the so-called sequester.

      That's their real target.  

      The other nonmandatory cuts (other than defense) are simply a diversion for them.  Just ask my Republican US Representative.  She'll gladly tell you!


      "Only he who can see the invisible, can do the impossible." --Frank L. Gaines

      "If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson

      by musiccitymollie on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 05:06:06 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Balance in 10 Years? (0+ / 0-)

    Probably could if we didn't have to suffer from Republican Obstructionism.  Raise a few taxes, cut some Defense programs, do a some more stimulus, repair some infrastructure (putting people back to work) and we stand a chance of repeating the Clinton Miracle.  But if we have to balance a budget in the middle of an austerity program that caters to the really really rich, we're out of luck.  What the hell is Boehner smoking, any way?

  •  Boehner forgot how the sequester came about & why (0+ / 0-)

    He should have sat through the Briefing by the WH Press Sec. Carney, to be reminded.

    Snippet from transcript:

    [   ]

    Q    And lastly, everyone agrees that the sequester is a bad idea, but didn't it originate -- the idea for the sequester originate here at the White House?

         MR. CARNEY:  Well, we’ve been through this a lot -- I know you’re filling in -- but here’s the fundamental fact. During the deficit reduction of the debt ceiling negotiations, because the Republicans refused to embrace balance, refused in the end to join hands with the President and pursue a grand bargain, there was an absolute necessity to avoid default, and both sides were looking for trigger mechanisms -- this is complicated budget-speak -- to help make this package possible.

         The sequester was something that was discussed, and as has been reported, it was an idea that the White House put forward because it was put forward by Republican Senator Gramm and Rudman back in the ‘80s as part of the Gramm-Rudman deal -- there is a history here to this.  But let’s be clear:  Republicans embraced it. Every member of the House Republican leadership voted for it.  Nearly two to one in the House Republicans voted for it over Democrats.  And on the day it passed, the Speaker of the House said he got 98 percent of what he wanted and that he was pretty happy.

         The issue here is the sequester was designed never to take effect because it was supposed to force Congress to do responsible, difficult things, make choices about how we reduce our deficit in a way that would allow us to avoid the sequester, the indiscriminate, across-the-board, devastating cuts that the sequester represents.

         Unfortunately, Republicans have thus far all along the way refused to go along with the fundamental principle of balance, that we need to do this with spending cuts -- tough spending cuts, with entitlement reforms and with revenues.

    [   ]

    [emphasis added]

    I would rather spend my life searching for truth than live a single day within the comfort of a lie. ~ John Victor Ramses

    by KayCeSF on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 02:26:42 PM PST

    •  Also, Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson talk about (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      "trigger mechanisms" throughout their proposal, The Moment Of Truth.

      Here's the link.

      And the "Gang of Eight's" proposal (from a couple of years ago) also invoked the use of triggers.

      "Triggers" are the new rage in Washington D.C., LOL!  

      Unfortunately, for "the American People," I doubt seriously that we've seen the last of them, either.


      "Only he who can see the invisible, can do the impossible." --Frank L. Gaines

      "If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson

      by musiccitymollie on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 04:57:40 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Boehner is for The People's Budget? (0+ / 0-)

    Oh wait, sorry, that balances by 2021.  My mistake.

    Fake candidates nominated by the GOP for the recalls: 6 out of 7. Fake signatures on the recall petitions: 4 out of 1,860,283.

    by GeoffT on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 03:12:20 PM PST

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