A sequester meeting between Obama and members of Congress this morning failed to bring any resolution to sequester negotiations.
As previously reported by The Inquisitr, the sequester is about $85 billion, or $1.2 trillion in 10 years, in automatic spending cuts that will hit both the Pentagon’s defense budget and domestic programs, which includes roughly $11 billion in cuts coming from Medicare. As a comparison, these spending cuts are a tiny 2.4 percent of the $3.6 trillion worth federal spending that comes out of $15.7 trillion generated by the American economy.
According to the Washington Post, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) told reporters afterward that Republicans continue to disagree with Obama’s prescription of revenue, or tax, increases as part of a “balanced approach” to resolve the issue:
“‘The discussion about revenue, in my view, is over,’ Boehner said. He said the problem is federal spending that must be curbed. He also said the House would move a continuing resolution next week to fund the government past March 27 and avert a government shutdown. He then walked away without taking any questions.”
Boehner is probably referring to the revenue/tax increases that occurred after the Fiscal Cliff negotiations. Mike Huckabee call the sequester an “Obamageddon,” pointing out that the budget of federal agencies have increased by 17 percent since 2008, when Obama first took office, and the sequester is only a 5 percent cut.
According to the Guardian, President Obama today gave a speech that blamed Republicans for the Congressional deadlock:
“”[Republicans have] allowed these cuts to happen because they’ve refused to budge on closing a single loophole. They think that’s apparently more important than protecting the middle class or the military from the pain of these cuts.”
President Obama claims that economic growth will be cut by one half of one percent and about 750,000 jobs lost if the sequester takes full effect. The loopholes Obama is referring to are ones that Republicans previously suggested, including the $4 billion a year taxpayers give to oil companies or the $1.5 billion given to Hollywood.
The sequester blame game has led both political parties to attempt to pin the idea for the sequester on the other. As the sequester timeline shows, Bob Woodward claims that the Obama White House conceived the sequester idea, told Senate Democrats about it, and then Republicans embraced the sequester as a middle ground.
John Boehner also claimed that House Republicans passed two bills previously that the Senate ignored. According to the Examiner, Democrats like Nancy Pelosi responded by reminding Boehner that, under the US Constitution, all revenue bills must begin in the House and those two bills were passed by the last session of Congress, which makes them null and void.
The good news according to CBS News is that under the sequester “Social Security, Medicaid, veterans’ benefits, unemployment insurance, and food stamps will not see any reduction in funding.” The sequester cuts are also not automatic, and take effect over 10 years, so it’s possible that Congress can still act.
Who do you think is to blame for the sequester? What should Congress do instead of enacting the sequester?