President Obama, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and countless other administration officials have been predicting a Sequestration Armagaddeon for weeks, so Sen. Tom Coburn wants to know how the government can afford the 100 city "Connecting to your Community" tour to promote more federal spending.
The Oklahoma Republican posed the question yesterday in a letter to Jeffrey Zients, deputy director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, saying:
"Much is being made about the possible impact of sequestration on government programs for the poor and middle class, food safety, and the defense of our nation. It is somewhat surprising, therefore, for the White House to be headlining a 100 city government spending tour, transporting representatives from multiple departments and various agencies around the country to promote federal largess.
"If Washington is truly cutting spending on missions many consider vital, how can we at the same time promise and promote more financial assistance, much less afford this mammoth 100 city cross country tour?"
Coburn noted that Beaverton, Oregon, the first stop on the tour that features representatives from the Obama White House, Departments of Labor, Transporation and Housing and Urban Development, and the Environmental Protection Agency, has an aggressive and to date highly successful campaign to secure more federal money.
"In 2011, the Mayor and nine other city and county representatives, for example, spent two full weeks in Washington, D.C. to visit with various federal officials and lobby for federal aid. The same information presented at the daylong symposium could have been shared with the mayor during his next visit to Washington or with the city's consulting firm via electronic communication such as a teleconference, website, or email to save taxpayers money," Coburn said.
Coburn also asked Zients for information on the cost of the tour, the total number of federal employees planning and executing the tour, and dates and places on the schedule following the Beaverton event.
Go here for the complete text of Coburn's letter.