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 Republicans voted for the bill than Democrats: 174 (73 percent) voted for it and 66 against, while Democrats were split 95-95. In the Senate, 28 Republicans voted for it and 19 against, while Democrats 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.
-- On the day of the vote, Rep. Paul Ryan explained the spending cuts in the bill to Sean Hannity, adding the following:
"And if they breach that amount across the board, sequester comes in to cut that spending, and you can't turn that off without a supermajority vote. We got that in law. That is here..."
-- Then there's the Powerpoint 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 Republicans: "[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.
This post originally appeared at Jared Bernstein's On The Economy blog.
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