One official at the United States Department of Agriculture was instructed not to make the effects of sequestration prove less disruptive than the USDA had predicted “on record,” according to an email obtained by an Arkansas Republican.
“We have gone on record with a notification to Congress and whoever else that ‘APHIS would eliminate assistance to producers in 24 States in managing wildlife damage to the aquaculture industry, unless they provide funding to cover the costs,’” an unnamed USDA official wrote in an email to USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s (APHIS) eastern regional director Charles Brown after Brown asked about flexibility in implementing the sequester cuts, according to the office of Rep. Tim Griffin, R-Ark. “So, it is our opinion that however you manage that reduction, you need to make sure you are not contradicting what we said the impact would be,” the email concludes (Griffin’s emphasis.)
Griffin reads the email as proof that Obama is trying to maximize the disruption caused by sequestration. “The Obama Administration is doing everything they can to make sure their worst predictions come true and to maximize the pain of the Sequester cuts for political gain,” he said in a statement on the email. “Instead of cutting waste, the Administration Obama is hurting workers. President Obama should stop protecting wasteful government spending.”
Obama promised to veto a Republican proposal that would have maximized his power to implement sequestration in the way he thought most prudent.
“Allowing the president the flexibility to move money around? I think it’s a good idea,” Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., told The Washington Examiner before the Senate voted on the bill. “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.”
The bill failed in the Senate after Obama issued the veto threat.