There is nothing like a game of chicken coming back to bite the instigators in the ass.
Recap: Last year as part of the debt limit increase stupidity – the Budget Control Act was passed. This created a super budget committee (remember the term “Super Congress”?) that was tasked with the job to come up with a budget that effectively reduced spending and the deficit as well as balance the budget.
The super committee didn’t come to an agreement because the Republican members refused to increase revenues (meaning rolling back the Bush tax cuts). This is also the time of the supposed “grand bargain” that failed between Boehner and Obama – in which no one really knows what happened.
In the Budget Control Act, as an incentive to force both sides to compromise, automatic triggers are to take place starting in January 2013 if no compromise is reached. This lists the cuts and how they are to take effect.
The Republicans, in public, said this was a good “compromise” – thought it made them look fair – and they even got to boast that Medicare and other mandatory programs would be cut. Heck, Paul Ryan even wrote an op-ed extolling its virtues.
Fast forward to RIGHT NOW. The Republicans are crying foul saying the defense cuts are too much (they’re not)…and are planning on voting next week on a new bill that – wait for it – would overturn the cuts.
The House Republicans are claiming that they have already passed a law that would avoid the cuts. Would you like to know what that is? THE PAUL RYAN BUDGET!! Yes, the budget that would eliminate all of those military cuts and, instead, cut programs for seniors, the poor, women and children. Do I have to mention there are no new revenues in this plan? Well, at least not from those precious “job creators”.
Mitt Romney is currently on the campaign trail saying that Obama is going to cut military spending. The law requires this. He’s also saying that it was a bad idea for Congress to pass this act. He seems to be forgetting that HIS RUNNING MATE (and majority of Republicans) VOTED FOR THE FREAKIN’ BILL!
Part of the BCA requirements include the White House issuing a report on how the sequestration is to be implemented (this is reportedly going to happen next week – it was due this week). The president can decide how the military spending cuts are to occur. The cuts can come from anywhere (except, technically, emergency war funding) – and they don’t have to include cuts in personnel pay. I believe this is where the rumor about the President cutting soldiers’ salaries comes from. It just says military personnel. A lot of personnel aren’t soldiers (again, feel free to look at the analysis here). But, this is just an option and no cuts in personnel have to happen.
I bring this up for two reasons: 1) You’re going to be hearing a lot of misleading soundbites about this (surprise!) and 2) I think this is a glaring example of the posturing Republicans do and the real danger it does to our country.
This act did not have to happen. It has NOTHING to do with the debt ceiling, which has always been passed irrespective of the budget. This is a case of bullying by the extreme factions of the Republican party and now they are faced with real consequences of their actions.
Instead of going to the negotiating table to come up with real solutions, they have their candidate saying the President is cutting defense funding…and while he’s at it – he’s going to take God off of our money and out of our country (I’m really not making this shit up). Romney is also saying he, as president, will make sure those cuts don’t happen. Because why should Republicans have to keep their word? Retroactive leadership, I guess.
Nothing will be done before the November election. Nothing except a lot of posturing and pointing of fingers. In fact, the Republicans are already trying to say the whole idea of the sequestration was – wait for it – President Obama’s idea.
I have no idea if that is true. But for Republicans – the truth doesn’t matter. It’s all about winning a game of chicken.