18 points in Scrabble
February 14th, 2013
04:20 PM ET
10 years ago

18 points in Scrabble

(CNN) - It's far from unusual to hear that a senator is seeking to score political points.

But summing up points in a board game? That's a much less frequent happening on Capitol Hill.

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Sen. Barbara Mikulski tallied up Thursday the letters to an 18-point word being bantered around Washington.

"What I want to talk about is sequester," she said on the floor of the Senate. "Sequester is a three - six - nine letter word which would be a big hit in a Scrabble game, but it's a lousy word for the game of life and the functioning of our economy."

The word has been on the lips of Washington lawmakers for months and refers to government spending cuts. It is also a verb meaning to separate or segregate.

In this case, it is the legislative term for cuts President Barack Obama and Congress agreed to in the summer of 2011 as an incentive to agree to other deficit reduction plans. Neither Democrats nor Republicans are a fan of the across-the-board cuts which include equal cuts to defense and non-defense programs.

The cuts were set to take effect in January but the temporary measure to avert the fiscal cliff pushed the cuts back to March. Lawmakers have not yet arrived at an alternative to those cuts.

But perhaps they'll come together and arrive at a plan - over a game of Scrabble.

Filed under: Barbara Mikulski • Budget
soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. Sniffit

    This article brought to you by 4:20 (see above). Did Coop bring the stick-icky again?

    February 14, 2013 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  2. Ed1

    Both parties agreed with the cuts then let the cuts begin.

    You can't get out of debt by creating more debt that's common sense 101 but the Democrats will always find someone else to blame even when both parties agreed.

    February 14, 2013 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  3. Sniffit


    Both parties agreed with the cuts then let the cuts begin.

    You can't get out of debt by creating more debt that's common sense 101 but the Democrats will always find someone else to blame even when both parties agreed."

    The cuts were "never supposed to happen." Both parties agreed on th epremise that negotiations would proceed in good faith and the sequester would be avoided because it was bad for everyone, both politically and in terms of the efect on the country. The GOP/Teatrolls then blew up the negotiations by behaving in bad faith, refusing to compromise and sticking to ideological partisan strategies like the Hastert Rule. THAT is why themajority of people are blaming the GOP/Teatrolls for sequester....not because people think "only the GOP voted for it"...but because hey recognize that "the GOP is the reason sequestration hasn't been avoided." The attempt to shift the blame to Obama and Dems by saying "it was his idea" and "but everyone voted for it" entirely misses the point and is completely irrelevant to why the GOP/Teatrolls are getting the lion's share of the blame.

    February 14, 2013 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  4. Sniffit

    ""At least that was kinda funny...stupid and based on some very ridiculous misinformation...but still kinda funny."

    It's not too funny since it's true : According to estimates from the International Monetary Fund, America’s total government debt will be $16.8 trillion by the end of the calendar year, the Senate Budget Committee explains. "On a per person basis, that means U.S. debt is $53,400 for every man, woman, and child."

    Yes, you can take the debt and divide by the number of people int he country to get a meaningless measure of how much debt that represents per person. However, that's not how paying off the national debt works, so it's misinformation to characrterize it that way. The "per person" figure is just something bandied about to give some sense of magnitude to people who otherwise have trouble fathoming a number like 16 trillion.

    February 14, 2013 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  5. The REAL Truth...

    The sequestration agreement was reached when the GOP held the country hostage (about 18 months ago) when our debt rating was downgraded so that we could raise the ceiling. The Grand Obstructionist Party held the Administrations feet to the fire, and they had no choice but to agree to the cuts – knowing that neither side wanted them.
    The problem is that now the Teatrolls want to renege on the deal! Surprise, surprise!!
    Neither side wants the cuts, but the additional spending is necessary to pay off existing debt ALREADY OWED...

    February 14, 2013 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  6. jpmichigan

    Obama must not know what the word meant, for in 2011 he suggested it to get what he wanted along with congress. NOW LET THE GAMES BEGIN!

    February 14, 2013 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  7. Aaron

    You get 50 points for 7 letter words.

    February 14, 2013 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |