Setting the Record Straight About the Sequester

In less than two weeks, dangerous across the board budget cuts are slated to take effect, potentially threatening hundreds of thousands of jobs, our national security and our economic recovery. The President has laid out a specific plan with detailed cuts to avoid the sequester and reduce the deficit in a balanced way by cutting spending, reforming entitlements and closing tax loopholes for the wealthiest and big corporations - loopholes not available to the middle class -- and Congressional Democrats have put forward a balanced approach as well.

The only party unwilling to compromise to avoid these devastating cuts are Congressional Republicans, who would rather see our recovery and middle class economic security be put at risk than close one tax loophole for big corporations and the wealthiest.

Tonight, in an effort to distract from this reality, the Leader of the Republican party took to the opinion pages of the Wall Street Journal to engage in an amazing act of revisionist history. Instead of communicating with the American people - who support a balanced approach to reduce the deficit - about finding a compromise, the Republican Leadership once again launched a series of false attacks instead of putting forward ways to resolve this issue in a bipartisan way.

So let's set the record straight.

  1. Speaker Boehner asked “What spending are you willing to cut to replace it?” Here they are: The fact is, the President has a detailed, balanced plan with spending cuts. He is willing to make tough choices. Now it’s time for the Speaker to do the same. The Speaker has yet to name one tax loophole he’s willing to close. Not one.
  2. The Speaker said the sequester is "an ugly and dangerous way" to cut spending. We agree. But in the past he’s led Congressional Republicans to threaten the sequester as a political tool. In the Wall Street Journal on January 6, 2013: “Mr. Boehner says he has significant Republican support, including GOP defense hawks, on his side for letting the sequester do its work. ‘I got that in my back pocket,’ the speaker says.”
  3. In that same article in the Wall Street Journal Speaker Boehner boasts about using the sequester as leverage. “Republican willingness to support the sequester, Mr. Boehner says, is ‘as much leverage as we're going to get.’ That leverage, he reasons, is what will force Democrats to the table on entitlements.”
  4. It’s time for Speaker Boehner to explain to the American people what he actually meant. The Speaker claims the sequester was a last minute agreement to resolve the debt limit increase the President wanted. Simply not true. In fact, it was the Speaker who praised the sequester at the time. Following the deal, he said “When you look at this final agreement that we came to with the White House, I got 98 percent of what I wanted. I'm pretty happy.” In fact, the final vote count was 269-161 – with 174 Republicans in favor. Speaker Boehner, Rep. Cantor and Rep. Ryan all voted yes.
  5. Speaker Boehner argues the President has "put forth no detailed plan that can pass Congress". Here’s the plan.  It’s balanced and it includes spending cuts. The President is willing to make tough choices. It’s time for Speaker Boehner and Congressional Republicans to do the same.
  6. Speaker Boehner claims we haven't been serious about entitlement reform. The opposite is true: Here’s the plan. It’s on the table. Now it’s time for Congressional Republicans to come to the table and take a balanced approach to avoid these devastating cuts.
  7. Where is the Republican plan? The GOP bill expired. If they’re confident the draconian cuts will win support in Congress and more importantly – with the American people -- they should bring it up for a vote.

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