The White House staff responded on its blog to Speaker Boehner’s op-ed in the Wall Street Journal and, well, it’s clear they’re unhappy about being held accountable for President Obama’s sequester. Here are a few things the White House isn’t telling you:
- REPUBLICANS FIRST VOTED TO REPLACE THE OBAMA SEQUESTER LAST MAY: Republicans are “unwilling to compromise to avoid these devastating cuts,” claims the White House. “Where is the Republican plan?” Huh? The House voted twice last year (in May and December) to replace the president’s sequester with responsible cuts and reforms, and without raising taxes on families and small businesses. Senate Democrats didn’t do a thing. And while they claim this is their plan, Congressional Budget Office (CBO) Director Doug Elmendorf told Congress “we have not seen a specific proposal” from the White House for replacing its sequester.
- THEY’RE NOT URGING SENATE DEMOCRATS TO VOTE ON THEIR “PLAN”: The White House claims “the President has a detailed, balanced plan with spending cuts.” They wrote this twice (same number of times the House has voted to replace the president’s sequester, incidentally), referring to a document the president sent to the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction. So, if this is their plan as they claim – why aren’t they urging Senate Democrats to vote on it?
- THE PRESIDENT ALREADY GOT THE TAX HIKES HE DEMANDED: “Speaker Boehner boasts about using the sequester as leverage” for spending cuts, complains the White House, even though the president used his sequester as leverage for tax hikes. President Obama sternly said in 2011 he would “veto any effort to get rid of those automatic spending cuts to domestic and defense spending” without big tax increases. As Speaker Boehner said, the president got his tax hikes – now we need to address Washington’s spending problem.
- THEY JUST WANT MORE OF THE SAME: HIGHER TAXES, MORE SPENDING: “The Speaker has yet to name one tax loophole he’s willing to close. Not one.” Give us a break. “No one should be talking about raising taxes,” wrote Speaker Boehner, “when the government is still paying people to play video games, giving folks free cellphones, and buying $47,000 cigarette-smoking machines.” Republicans want to simplify the tax code to help grow our economy and create new jobs, and use such revenue to lower rates for all Americans. Our sequester replacement bills close a loophole benefitting non-US citizens to save taxpayers billions, and make cuts and reforms that put us on a path to balance the budget in 10 years. Democrats just want higher taxes to fuel more spending (Exhibit A).
- THEY COULD HAVE ADDRESSED THE SEQUESTER & OUR SPENDING PROBLEM IN THEIR BUDGET – IF THEY HAD ONE: “Speaker Boehner claims we haven't been serious about entitlement reform” says the White House. “The opposite is true: Here’s the plan. It’s on the table.” They don’t actually link to anything from “here’s the plan.” We assume that was an error. But the point is: the House has passed budget after budget addressing our spending problem and saving our entitlement programs. Senate Democrats haven’t passed one in four years. And the president still hasn’t submitted a budget to Congress (late again, most of any president). If he spent less time on his “endless campaign” we might have averted the sequester a year ago.