“Obama’s sequester”? No way

It's time to defuse the latest fiscal time bomb

Topics: Jared Bernstein, sequester, spending cuts, Budget Control Act,

“Obama’s sequester”? No way
This originally appeared on Jared Bernstein's blog, On the Economy.

For my sanity and yours, I rarely get into the silliest corners of politics, but this conservative talking point that the word “sequester” must actually be called “Obama’s sequester,” like they had nothing to do with it, is really beyond the pale. I get that both sides are trying to position themselves to not get blamed for this totally preventable, self-inflicted wound, but here are some facts that belie this ridiculous Republican disowning of a policy they supported.

  • The sequester was part of the Budget Control Act, passed in 2011 with bipartisan support. In fact, a larger share of House R’s voted for the bill than D’s: 174 (73 percent) voted for it and 66 against, while D’s were split 95-95. In the Senate, 28 R’s voted for it and 19 against, while D’s supported it 45-6.
  • Voting in support of the bill that contained the sequester were Reps. Boehner, Ryan, Cantor and Sen. McConnell.
  • Speaker Boehner said of the bill including the sequester: “I got 98 percent of what I wanted.” Given their highly amped-up disdain of the sequester now, I find it hard to believe that this was the 2 percent he didn’t want.

“And if they breach that amount across the board, sequester comes in to cut that spending, and you can’t turned that off without a supermajority vote. We got that in law. That is here …”



  • Then there’s the Power Point slide that the Daily Beast put up yesterday from Speaker Boehner in July of 2011 advertising the sequester as a selling point to his fellow R’s: “[The bill] sets up a new sequestration process to cut spending across-the-board …”

So, should we be calling this “Ryan’s sequester”? … “Boehner’s sequester”?

No. We — they — should stop acting like truculent kids on the playground, get to work, and defuse their latest fiscal time bomb.

Jared Bernstein joined the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities in May 2011 as a Senior Fellow. From 2009 to 2011, Bernstein was the Chief Economist and Economic Adviser to Vice President Joe Biden. Follow his work via Twitter at @econjared and @centeronbudget.

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