Spending cut squabbling turns to blame game
February 20th, 2013
10:45 AM ET
2 years ago

Spending cut squabbling turns to blame game

(CNN) – As time winds down for lawmakers and the White House to forge a plan averting the latest fiscal catastrophe, each side looked past a fix Wednesday and instead sought to pin the blame for the painful forced spending cuts on the other party.

Congress, which isn't even in session this week, doesn't appear close to taking action on the $85 billion in forced cuts, which take effect March 1. Lawmakers and aides told CNN Tuesday not to expect any measure staving off the budget slashing to pass in the near future.

Without a solution in sight, leaders jumped ahead to the bickering over whom to blame if the cuts take effect. Writing on the Wall Street Journal's opinion page, House Speaker John Boehner repeated his line that the cuts were President Barack Obama's idea, writing the across-the-board measures are "a product of the president's own failed leadership."

The cuts, which include massive slashes to military spending, have cast a shadow over Congress and the White House since 2011. They were originally meant to be so drastic that both sides would have to reach a deal before they were implemented.

The White House initially proposed the idea of forced spending cuts, but they were approved by Congress as part of a deal to allow continued borrowing by the Treasury to pay the nation's bills.

"The president's sequester is the wrong way to reduce the deficit, but it is here to stay until Washington Democrats get serious about cutting spending," Boehner wrote in the Wall Street Journal. "The government simply cannot keep delaying the inevitable and spending money it doesn't have."

White House Senior Adviser Dan Pfeiffer called Boehner's allegations a distraction technique in a post on the White House's blog, writing "the Leader of the Republican party took to the opinion pages of the Wall Street Journal to engage in an amazing act of revisionist history."

"Instead of communicating with the American people – who support a balanced approach to reduce the deficit – about finding a compromise, the Republican Leadership once again launched a series of false attacks instead of putting forward ways to resolve this issue in a bipartisan way," Pfeiffer wrote.

Later, Pfeiffer alleged on Twitter that the GOP actually wants the massive cuts to go into effect, and said a compromise deal would be impossible unless Republicans budge on their opposition to closing tax loopholes.

CNN's Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.


Filed under: Budget • John Boehner
soundoff (70 Responses)
  1. Dave

    At this point and time our Government needs to cut spending. This is the 2nd time that Obama is now asking for an extension in the USA's credit. This is not what is needed. What is needed is the all over the board budget cuts. No exceptions. We as a country can not keep running like this. All of our presidents, past and present are doing nothing but making us go deeper in debt. Let the cuts happen. The only bad thing that this will not cover is the insane amount that these people get paid, and the fact that these fat cats only have to work 2 days a week. Cut the pay by 1/2 and make them work 5 days a week and then we may see some progress.

    February 20, 2013 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  2. The Real Tom Paine

    -Guest

    What may be most alarming is that the president doesnt realize everything he has stated publicly has been recorded. To ignore all of his previous statements and accept his ever changing postion based upon the prevailing political crisis suggests that we simply cant believe anything he says. Why are so many falling for this nonsense? He is a fraud.
    *******************************************
    What everchanging position? Its the GOP that will kill its own ideas and filibuster its own proposals. They are all frauds, and are not serious.

    February 20, 2013 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  3. Rudy NYC

    Guest actually wrote:

    What may be most alarming is that the president doesnt realize everything he has stated publicly has been recorded. ....
    -----------------–
    "I got 98% of what I wanted. I'm pretty happy." – John Boehner.

    He was one happy, gloatin' camper when he said that. All of a sudden now, the whole sequestration thing is Pres. Obama's fault. You'd have to pretty short on memory chips to buy into the GOP argument.

    February 20, 2013 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  4. tj

    It's too bad the "forced cuts" weren't closer to a trllion...

    February 20, 2013 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  5. CB

    Rick McDaniel

    That blame game is totally a LIE on Obama's part. Obama was the person who created the sequester
    --

    Right. That's why Boehner said "I got 98% of what I wanted. I'm pretty happy." – John Boehner, after the deal creating the Sequester was announced, and 175 House Republicans voted FOR it.

    February 20, 2013 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  6. DakotaNM57

    The irony in Boehner's blame game are that closing the very loopholes in our tax code Obama has proposed and Boehner is now rejecting are precisely what the GOP nominees, Romney and Ryan, proposed while they were on the campaign trail.

    February 20, 2013 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  7. Riddle

    " You'd have to pretty short on memory chips to buy into the GOP argument."

    You'd have to be pretty short on brains period to buy into either side.

    February 20, 2013 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  8. Waitaminute

    Frankly, who cares who's idea the sequester was? The point is ALL parties agreed to it. Well, CONGRESS, what are you going to do about it?

    I have seen children act more responsibly. These elected officials need to stop thier childish "he started it" act (and I am looking at you John Boehner) and work TOGETHER to craft a solution. If they can't, they will all face the public and take the blame TOGETHER

    February 20, 2013 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  9. Malory Archer

    Considering boehner is on record gloating about his getting "98% of what I wanted" in striking the sequestration deal with the President there's no doubt where the blame lies. The real problem is that the tighty righties bought into the farce that the also-ran was going to win, and now they're hoist by their own petards! LOL!!!

    February 20, 2013 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  10. Chris

    What constantly amazes me is so many people are willing to accept talking points that are easily contradicted by verifiable facts. John Boehner calls them the President’s Sequestration cuts yet the facts are both houses of Congress wrote and passed the legislation. I particularly like the comment, “Taxes will destroy the American Economy. Look what happened when Bill Clinton was Prez.” Let us see just how bad that was. Clinton took office in 1993, unemployment was at 6.9%, the DOW Jones was around 3,821 and the GDP was $6.58 Trillion. After eight years of Clinton’s tax policies unemployment was down to 4.6%, the DOW Jones had climbed to 10,787 and the GDP had increased to $10.79 Trillion. Yes that would be pretty bad. Unemployment decreased 2.5%, the Dow Jones nearly tripled and GDP nearly doubled. Forest Gump sure had it right.

    February 20, 2013 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  11. Rick MacK

    The GOP already gave in and allowed spending increases and tax increases with the assurance that the WH and the Senate would seriously address the budget......
    They didn't, so now it's time to pay the piper. Reid and Obama seem to have selective memory issues.

    February 20, 2013 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  12. rs

    sonny chapman
    Taxes will destroy the American Economy. Look what happened when Bill Clinton was Prez.
    ______________
    Check your timetables- the economy was better under Clinton than under Reagan (who tripled the Debt) and GHW Bush (who doubled it). I think what the Righties need to figure out is that taxation helps drive the economy- and hence isn't all bad. The wise Dwight D. Eisenhower's administration did pretty well in the late '50s with a 90% top tax bracket (well more than double what we have now). Taxes pay for budgets. Remember when the GOP would derisively call Democrats "Tax and Spend"? We the GOP is "Cut taxes and Spend". Which is how we got in the mess we're in.

    February 20, 2013 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  13. rob

    Sniffit
    "No they haven't. What they did was finally stepout of the way and allow the Bush tax cuts to expire LIKE THEY WERE WRITTEN, PROMISED AND LEGALLY REQUIRED TO DO IN THE FIRST PLACE."

    President Obama signed the extension of the "Bush" tax cuts into law in Dec 2010 because he said he didn't want to hurt the economy. A little history: The vast majority of the "Bush tax cuts" in terms of $ went to the lower and middle class. Taking some lower income people of the tax rolls all together. This part of the law that was supposed to "Expire" are not on the table for eather side. Why not? The fallacy is that just restoring the increases on the "Rich" will solve anything and the President won't say what his "responsable spending cuts" are. The President and the Dems are trying to force the Republicans to agree to raise taxes so they don't get blamed.

    February 20, 2013 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  14. b

    The president came up with the plan for cuts. he needs to fix it. he got his tax increases and now wants another. fat chance. worst president and we have never been without a budget in our history and its been 5 years since we had one. total failure of leadership. Obama does not care he is an idealog. he would rather see America decline so we don't polute the earth.

    February 20, 2013 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  15. Guest

    Closing the loopholes was offered as part of the last crisis, Obama didnt want that, he wanted an increase in tax rates because he believed it gave him more money. Thats exactly what he got. And heres a list of all the cuts he made:

    February 20, 2013 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  16. Larry L

    @Rick McDaniel

    That blame game is totally a LIE on Obama's part. Obama was the person who created the sequester........he thought he would win control of the house, and then he would just print money AGAIN!
    =====================================
    Go back to school. Take a government course. The President does not make the laws. Your Republican controlled House officially proposed the sequester – as an alternative supported by rational people to avoid allowing the country to default on our obligations. Still, many Republicans voted in favor of allowing America to become a deadbeat nation.

    The "blame game" is easy. Holding America hostage is a REPUBLICAN INVENTION to protect the wealthy from paying a fair level of taxes. Republicans will get hammered in 2014 by the working Americans who will soon be sent home from their lost jobs – thanks to the Tea Party Republicans.

    February 20, 2013 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  17. rs

    Rick MacK
    The GOP already gave in and allowed spending increases and tax increases with the assurance that the WH and the Senate would seriously address the budget......
    _____________
    Actually Rick, they dod not. To fully undo the wasteful Bush tax cuts of 2001, the top tax bracket would have to go to 43% on people earning more than $200k. The top income level the treasonous GOP agreed to was $450k (or about 0.65% of the American population)- and it didn't go to 43%.
    So, once again, the GOP DID NOT negotiate, nor did they actually raise taxes in any significant way.

    February 20, 2013 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  18. Tony

    rob, the White House is not panicking. Obama are doing those press events for a purpose. They are going to show up in political ads in 2014. In a public relations battle, Republicans will never beat Obama. After 2014, Republicans won't be in a position to create a fiscal crisis every 3 months.

    February 20, 2013 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  19. Sniffit

    Boehner worked extremely hard to sell the sequester to his party. Google his 7-slide PowerPoint presentation to them, which pitches it as a means of "holding Obama accountable." All of his BS trying to shift the blame to Obama (a) is dishonest and (b) isn't working.

    February 20, 2013 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  20. Sniffit

    "I particularly like the comment, “Taxes will destroy the American Economy. Look what happened when Bill Clinton was Prez.” "

    I think you probably need to turn up your snark-o-meter.

    February 20, 2013 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  21. Ed

    Waitaminute

    Frankly, who cares who's idea the sequester was? The point is ALL parties agreed to it. Well, CONGRESS, what are you going to do about it?

    I have seen children act more responsibly. These elected officials need to stop thier childish "he started it" act (and I am looking at you John Boehner) and work TOGETHER to craft a solution. If they can't, they will all face the public and take the blame TOGETHER

    -

    I couldn't agree more. Both parties had plenty of involvement in how this happened. I do however expect more from Obama in regards to leadership.

    February 20, 2013 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  22. Beverly - NYC

    If this is the only way to finally address the Trillion dollar deficit, let the sequestration cuts happen. Both sides agreed to this , the Republicans agreed because they thought Romney/Ryan would be in charge, President Obama agreed to get tax cuts and a line of credit. If I re-call Mr. Boehner got 98% of what he wanted so he should just button it and stop whining. Both sides have large staffs could everyone take a portion of the budget , recommend what goes and what stays, no sacred cows, everything on the table, get rid of redundancies , trim wasteful programs, cut spending on ridiculous junkets and go from there. I fail to see why this is so hard. The Senate can accomplish this with 5 to 10 committees. It's time to end the dis-function and grow-up.

    February 20, 2013 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  23. Scott

    The cuts have to be done, and the loop holes closed, and us to get rid of our dysfunctional government mainly the republican side. The simple logical solution is 1% cut the first year a 2% cut the following year and no inflation adjustment for 5 years most of the problem solved, Next all spend bills will be only for the intended project or program No More Pet or Pork Project added to the bill another big savings, As for Fema there needs to be a cap on the pay out .

    February 20, 2013 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  24. Lynda/Minnesota

    "Without a solution in sight, leaders jumped ahead to the bickering over whom to blame if the cuts take effect."

    Ah, yes. An angry America ... ruled by the media.

    Well, in the world OF the media anyway. You know ... those folks who kinda get a really, really big revenue increase each time - they - propagate their he said / he said frenzy - they - whip up for our ever ready finger pointing distraction.

    Yeah, Rudy. John Boehner was one happy, gloatin' camper. Now he's a 'whining and a 'complaining that the whole sequestration thingy he fought so hard for might not be such a grand bargain after all. I give him and his bargain a yawn factor of ... well, what's the point? Naping in Snoozeville is more exciting then John Boehner.

    Tired of Boehner. Tired of the obstruction. Tired of the gloating. Tired of the talking point BS.

    I'm just plain tired of all things GOP.

    February 20, 2013 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  25. rs

    I heard someone on Cantor's staff say yesterday that "Obama spent more time with Tiger Woods than negotiating with Republicans on the Sequester".
    Here's a news flash.
    First, no one "negotiates" with the GOP- they don't make deals, the always say no, and if they do make deals, the break them. I can't blame Obama for not going down that path after all their broken promises.
    Second, now it may just be a movie line (a Clint Eastwood movie...?) but it says "The United States of America does not negotiate with terrorists"- and you know what? That's all Boehner and the TEA Party are.

    February 20, 2013 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
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