The Washington Post’s David Fahrenthold reports:
[In summer 2011], the GOP and President Obama agreed to set caps on annual spending and to set in motion a bigger, broader budget cut: sequestration. This was a massive cut — $85 billion in the first year — spread across much of the federal government…
When the House GOP created a PowerPoint presentation titled “What We’ve Achieved,” these sequester-driven reductions in spending were trumpeted in the first slide. “For the first time since the Korean War, total federal spending has gone down for two years in a row,” the party declares, meaning fiscal 2012 and 2013. The spending cuts were also on the second slide. And the third. There were five slides total. (The other two focused on tax increases that might have happened, but didn’t.)
“It forced the spending curve downward,” Rep. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) said. “It actually made government and Washington, D.C., finally deal with what the American people have been dealing with, and that’s having to deal with less income and revenue.” [Pols emphasis]
The large across-the-board budget cuts mandated by the “sequester” provisions of the 2011 Budget Control Act, as Fahrenthold explains, were meant to be a “booby trap” to force both sides to negotiate over future budget reductions. The agreement to set up this negotiation “incentive” came after the last great budgetary impasse between President Barack Obama and House Republicans in 2011, which led to the first-ever downgrade of the nation’s credit rating and tremendous turmoil in financial markets.
Here’s Rep. Scott Tipton, similarly praising the sequester cuts locked in by this week’s deal:
Today’s agreement includes positive steps to extend responsible spending reforms, prevent a national default on nearly $17 trillion of U.S. debt, and reopen the government. It protects the economy and sets the stage for further budget negotiations to address our nation’s spending crisis. Our nation is facing a staggering national debt, and this plan continues to address the debt by extending sequester-level spending reforms. [Pols emphasis]
But just a few short months ago, Republicans were saying something very different.
As the sequester’s mandated budget cuts were prepared to go into effect on March 1st of this year, Republicans launched a public relations campaign to deflect the blame for the resulting pain, labeling the sequester the “Obamaquester” (see video above). Local conservatives dutifully picked up the tune:
Instead of viewing the White House’s list of sequestration effects on Colorado’s families as a list of budget cuts, Coloradans should view this as a list of important topics with which the President is willing to play politics. Further, Coloradans should not be fooled by the verbal tap dancing by White House lawyers and staff. This was Obama’s idea, foisted upon Congress, [Pols emphasis] and he should take responsibility for the negative implications that follow. The question is – will the media hold his feet to the fire?
Now that Republicans have emerged from, if anything, an even greater public relations disaster than the 2011 budget debacle that led to the sequester–with only those same 2011-era budget cuts to show for it–we’re guessing they take it back? The fact is, the sequester cuts have been painful for Colorado in quantifiable ways. Progressive fiscal policy groups have been sounding the alarm since before they took effect. As the conservative blog quoted above themselves admitted, these cuts “include education, Department of Defense jobs, victims aid programs, jobs placement programs, childhood vaccines programs, domestic violence assistance, and more.” The impact of the sequester has generally been squelched, especially in Colorado, by so much other political news this year.
But forget all that, folks! What was “Obama’s fault” just a few months ago is now the GOP’s biggest win in years! It’s time to celebrate what you were told to get angry about in February.
We objectively think the Animal Farm reference is justified.