POLITICS

Now Obama looks to use as much flexibility as possible to implement sequestration

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Joel Gehrke

President Obama indicated that he is going to use as much power as the law allows him in deciding how to implement sequestration, just days after he threatened to veto a Republican bill that would maximize his flexibility.

“[W]e’re going to do our best to make sure that our agencies have the support they need to try to make some very difficult decisions, understanding that there are going to be families and communities that are hurt, and that this will slow our growth,” Obama said today while discussing sequestration before a Cabinet meeting.

The comment today reveals the degree to which the president was engaging in political theater last week, given that he killed a Republican proposal to give him flexibility with regard to implementing sequestration, in order to continue his push for tax increases.

“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., on Friday. “If the President were presented with [the Inhofe-Toomey bill], his senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill.”

Obama even attacked the proposal before it was formally offered. “Now, lately, some people have been saying, well, maybe we’ll just give the President some flexibility,” Obama said last week during a rally at Newport News, Va. “He could make the cuts the way he wants and that way it won’t be as damaging.  The problem is when you’re cutting $85 billion in seven months, which represents over a 10-percent cut in the defense budget in seven months, there’s no smart way to do that.  There’s no smart way to do that.  You don’t want to have to choose between, let’s see, do I close funding for the disabled kid, or the poor kid?  Do I close this Navy shipyard or some other one?  When you’re doing things in a way that’s not smart, you can’t gloss over the pain and the impact it’s going to have on the economy.”

 

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