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The sequester was meant to be an incentive. $85 billion in automatic spending cuts across the board to defense and discretionary domestic spending was included in the Budget Control Act in case the "super committee" couldn't reach agreement. Because Republican members of said super committee could not, and would not, accept revenue increases....no agreement was reached. It was because of the failure of the super committee that we face the brunt of the sequester in just two weeks.
Stubborn, non-negotiable Republicans on the super committee created the need to enact the sequester by refusing to accept ANY revenue in any committee agreement. That's what happened. Now, having stalemated the super committee through refusal to entertain ANY new revenues....Republicans, reticent at first, now seem to have embraced the sequester as yet another political tool to use against their enemies....I mean, against the Democrats.
“Let me be very clear — and I'd say this to the president as I say it to you — these spending cuts are going to go through on March 1,” Barrasso, of Wyoming, said on CNN's “State of the Union.”
“Taxes are off the table,” Barrasso and other Republicans have said repeatedly.
“The American people need to know tax cuts are off the table and the Republican Party is not in any way going to trade spending cuts for a tax increase,” Barrasso told CNN.
Thus far, Congress and the president have cut $2.5 trillion off of deficit spending with 75% of that $2.5T coming from spending cuts and only 25% from new taxes and revenue. Allowing the sequester to kick in would further unbalance a mix of cuts and new revenue, giving the minority Republicans over 80% of what they wanted. That approaching reality is leading House Republicans to become giddy....
Rank-and-file Republicans told The Hill newspaper Monday they're in no fear of political blowback from the sequester cuts. In fact, many are excited that the severe cuts are finally going to be enacted.
Republicans see the sequester as the best way possible to actually reduce government spending, which they see as the biggest threat to the nation.
“It (the sequester) was his [Obama’s] idea. We know that there are elections coming in 2014 — we know that the president and the party will be all out to reclaim the House — but we have acted in good faith, so the president can put all this on Republicans all he wants, but that's just not the fact,” Rep. Steve Womack (R-AR) earlier told The Hill.
Conservative groups like the Club for Growth and the Heritage Foundation have urged lawmakers not to waiver from their stance, and predict political advantage from the cuts taking effect.
“If [Republicans] don't shy away from this, if they don't run from their own shadows and they don't [buckle] at the last minute, I think it's a battle they can win,” conservative Heritage Action spokesman Dan Holler said.
Republicans are definitely cranking it up to declare a big win if another $85 billion in spending cuts goes into affect starting in a couple of weeks. Further....conservatives believe that the economic damage the sequester will do to the nation's economy will give them a "political advantage."
Here's my take: First, remember that Republicans in the House, by their refusal to simply pass an increased debt ceiling in 2011, are experienced in purposely causing damage to our nation's economy in the hopes of making political hay. So, this sequester rah-rah is nothing new for Republicans. Politics is war by other means, so if Republicans have to punish millions of Americans during that war to win "political advantage"...it's just what happens during a time of war. It's not personal.
For four years the top priority of Republicans was to make Obama a one term president. During those four years, Republicans did not want the economy to improve, did not want the unemployment number to go down.....as Limbaugh put it the week of Obama's first inauguration....Republicans wanted Obama to "fail."
Today, after Obama's re-election, Republicans are right back at it. If the sequester kicks in and does what economists say it will do.....damage a slowly recovering economy......then Republicans, giddy Republicans, can point to the dire "Obama" economy, the one Republicans purposely created, as evidence that Republicans should be given control of the Senate in 2014. It will be told as another mythical "tax and spend" liberal nightmare story.....and Republicans will have created and spun the entire yarn single handedly.
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