Senate Dems tout ‘deeply destructive’ sequestration bill as their ‘accomplishment’

Politics,Beltway Confidential,Joel Gehrke

Senate Democrats tout the spending cuts mandated by the Budget Control Act, which contains automatic spending cuts through sequestration, in a memo detailing their “accomplishments” that naturally did not mention passing a budget.

Democrats passed legislation to reduce the deficit by more than $2 trillion,” reads a memo from the Democratic Policy and Communications summarizing the “Accomplishments of the 112th Congress” obtained by The Washington Examiner. “By passing the Budget Control Act (BCA), the Senate avoided a catastrophic national default being threatened by congressional Republicans. The Act is a bipartisan compromise that establishes overall spending levels and will reduce the deficit by $2.1 trillion over ten years. The BCA calls for the largest package of spending cuts in the history of the United States, while protecting Social Security, Medicare beneficiaries, and programs for the most vulnerable.”

The Budget Control Act achieves those spending cuts through sequestration, which mandates across the board cuts that hit the Defense Department hardest. Politicians who discuss the BCA tend to couch their commentary in criticism of sequestration, but the Senate Democrats did not do so in this case.

“Sequestration could very well threaten the programs critical to our nation’s security,” Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said earlier this year. The White House, in issuing a report on the spending cuts entailed in sequestration, said that “The report leaves no question that the sequestration would be deeply destructive to national security, domestic investments and core government functions.”

The White House blames Republicans for the fact that these defense cuts will occur, citing their refusal to raise taxes.

“They would rather see deep and harmful cuts in our defense spending, deep and harmful cuts in our non-defense discretionary spending, in education, in border security, in assistance to veterans, in research and development,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said recently.

The Washington Examiner’s Conn Carroll noted that “it was Democrats who insisted on including the defense cuts in the package” in a recent Morning Examiner.

And, more importantly, House Republicans have already moved to reverse the defense sequester. If Democrats really wanted to stop those layoffs from happening, the Democratic Senate could easily agree to the House bill,” Carroll wrote, adding that “the Democrats’ highest political priority is to punish the rich with higher taxes, even if it means layoffs and a double-dip recession.”

The economic fallout of sequestration has Tim Kaine nervous.  The former Democratic National Committee chairman, now running for Senate in Virginia, has also criticized the defense cuts, which will cost so many Virginians their jobs.

“All the concern about sequestration falls on that we may lose private defense jobs,” Kaine said yesterday, according to The Washington Post. “There are going to be all kinds of cuts affecting public employees for a couple of years and nobody’s gotten out of line about it. A job loss is a job loss.”



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