With sequestration cuts due to hit both domestic programs and defense spending in a matter of weeks, the White House has plenty of motivation to distance itself from its own plan. The automatic cuts were put in place to pressure the president and Congress to find places to cut the fat, but the House GOP has been alone in that search. As Charles Krauthammer wrote at National Review Online yesterday:
Naturally, the Democratic Senate, which hasn’t passed a budget since before the iPad, has done nothing. Nor has the president — until his Tuesday plea.
The GOP should reject it out of hand and plainly explain (message No. 2): We are quite prepared to cut elsewhere. But we already raised taxes last month. If the president wants to avoid the sequester — as we do — he must offer a substitute set of cuts.
Otherwise, Mr. President, there is nothing to discuss. Your sequester — Republicans need to reiterate that the sequester was the president’s idea in the first place — will go ahead.
The GOP has its own hashtag linking the sequester with President Obama: #Obamaquester.
To his credit, Boehner’s fighting back, linking to the White House’s own report on the effects of the sequester, along with an explanation:
Republicans agree the sequester is the wrong way to cut spending, and agree the consequences are harmful. That’s why Republicans have twice passed legislation to replace it with common sense cuts and reforms. But without a plan to prevent his sequester, the president is out of excuses.