Opinion

White House threatens to veto bill that gives Obama flexibility on implementing sequestration

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Opinion,Joel Gehrke

President Obama prefers the “meat cleaver” approach of sequestration to any policy that would allow him to implement the spending cuts more selectively, as his administration threatened to a Republican proposal to that effect because it does not include a tax increase.

"While no amount of flexibility can avoid the fact that middle class families will bear the brunt of the cuts required by this bill, nothing is asked of the wealthiest Americans,” the White House Office of Management and Budget said in a statement on a bill introduced by Sen.  James Inhofe, R-Okla., and Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., today. “If the President were presented with [the Inhofe-Toomey bill], his senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill.”

Obama’s veto threat comes one day after the head of the Federal Aviation Administration, which is promising massive layoffs and air traffic delays if the sequester takes place, suggested that the FAA could handle the cuts if they had more flexibility.

“The problem that we have with the sequester is, in business, you would have much more flexibility,” FAA Administrator Michael Huerta said in a House hearing yesterday. “We’re not able to take a long term view.”

It’s an uncharacteristic veto threat from Obama, who has admitted that “there are times where ... I’d like to work my way around Congress” on issues such as illegal immigration.

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., thinks the flexibility proposal should be passed. “Allowing the president the flexibility to move money around? I think it’s a good idea,” Paul told The Washington Examiner yesterday. “The thing is, I think he’s using scare tactics and emotionalism and really he needs to make some wise decisions. We need to give him the power to not make those decisions.”

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said there won’t be any more tax increases. ”The president got his tax hikes in January,” Boehner said in a CBS interview this week. “The federal government will have more revenue this year than any year in our history. It’s time to tackle spending. Period.”

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