Monday, March 25, 2013

Sequestration

Congressman Matt Cartwright is hosting a “Stop the Sequester for Working Families” Democratic rally forum this week.  State Senator John Blake and a few union officials will also participate.

This follows the all-Democrat Scranton City Council’s resolution condemning the sequester, as reported by the Scranton Times.

What’s odd is the lack of historical perspective.

Let’s look at the timeline…

July 2011: President Obama’s White House conceives of, proposes, and advances the idea of a sequester bill.   As a matter of fact, WaPo did a fact check on President Obama’s claim that sequestration was something the House thought up and gave him four pinnochios for the claim.

August 1, 2011: The House passes the Budget Control Act of 2011 by a vote of 269-161 (including 95 Democrats.)  You might remember the great deal of attention paid to the return of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords arriving and casting a vote.

August 2, 2011: The Senate passes the Budget Control Act of 2011 by  vote of 74-26.  Keep in mind, the Democrats control the Senate.  Democratic Senate Leader Harry Reid was quoted by ABC saying “there's one winner throughout all of this and that's the American people,” by ABC.  President Obama signed the legislation.

November 2011: “Super-Committee” created by the Budget Control Act of 2011 fails to reach an agreement, triggering the sequester.  CNN reported that Republicans wanted to lower overall taxes, eliminate tax breaks, change how tax rates are calculated, and cut spending.  Democrats wanted to only new taxes and higher spending.

May 9, 2012: Republicans pass H.R. 5652, the Sequester Replacement Act, which would have stopped sequestration.

December 20, 2012: House Republicans pass H.R. 6684, the Spending Reduction Act, which offered another method to stop sequestration.  This was the “Plan B” legislation.

May-December 19, 2012: Senate Democrats refuse to vote on Republican legislation to offset the sequester or offer up legislation of their own to avert it.

January 2, 2013: President Obama signs into law a compromise deal to offset the sequester until March of 2013.  The bill is passed with more Democrats than Republicans, according to NBC.

February 2013: White House spokesman Jay Carney confirms that the sequester was President Obama’s idea. Video:


So, it should be clear that Scranton City Council’s resolution is completely unfounded.  It smacks of bitter partisanship and ignorance.  Perhaps they should spend more time focusing on Scranton’s finances than trying to micro-manage congress.

The sequester was a bad idea.  But it was a bad idea dreamed up by President Obama’s team.  Yes, both the House and the Senate passed it in bipartisan legislation, but let’s not lose our grasp on reality while looking to score political points.
 
Hopefully, Congressman Cartwright will use this forum as an opportunity to truthfully reflect on the process as it happened, propose solutions, and inform the public – not use it as an opportunity for political grandstanding as Scranton City Council has.