POLITICS

WH admits, then denies, spending cuts could fix sequestration

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Joel Gehrke

President Obama’s spokesmen got their lines crossed this week during two exchanges with ABC’s Jonathan Karl, with one conceding that sequestration could be resolved through spending cuts alone and the other denying it.

Karl interviewed new White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough on Sunday. “Is it really impossible to find less than 3 percent of savings in a federal budget without making those kind of horrible cuts?” he asked.

“You know what, it’s not impossible, and that is exactly what the president has done over the last year, $2.5 trillion in deficit reduction,” McDonough replied (although, with a bit of a dodge, as his deficit reduction statistic includes a tax increase).

Yesterday, Karl posed the same question to White House Press Secretary Jay Carney. “There is no way to do this — $85 billion over that short window of time — there is no way if you follow the law written by Congress, that implementation of these cuts would not have the draconian, drastic effects that the President talked about today, and that everybody who has written about this has talked about, or everybody who has spoken about this has made clear will happen,” Carney answered.

(The Public Notice juxtaposes these exchanges in the above video).

House Republicans have passed two bills that would replace the sequester with alternative spending cuts, but Senate Democrats have not taken up the legislation.

“[T]he president has yet to put forward a specific plan that can pass his Democratic-controlled Senate, and has exerted no pressure on the Democratic leadership of the Senate to actually pass legislation to replace the sequester he proposed,” House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said in a statement today.  “As the commander-in-chief, President Obama is ultimately responsible for our military readiness, so it’s fair to ask: what is he doing to stop his sequester that would ‘hollow out’ our Armed Forces?”

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