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.