Inhofe, Toomey: Hey, why don’t we give Obama some flexibility on sequestration?
posted at 12:41 pm on February 27, 2013 by Erika Johnsen
Among the complaints about sequestration coming from the White House in recent weeks has been that the sequestration is much too indiscriminate, and that its rules pretty much legally require them to implement the cuts via budgetary hack job. Well, be careful what you ask for, Mr. President, ’cause you just might get it. From Human Events:
With barely 48 hours to go before the $1.2 trillion in across-the-board cuts known as sequestration set in, a plan initially offered by Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) to permit the five service chiefs to make the required cuts began to take shape Tuesday night. But where Inhofe’s initial concept would permit the five service chiefs to decide where the defense-related cuts will be made in their individual services, the latest version—in which Inhofe was joined today by freshman Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.)—would be much broader and allow cuts in domestic spending to be determined by the appropriate administrators of their government programs.
On Fox News last night, Senators Pat Toomey and Jim Inhofe outlined their rationale for trying to allow the Obama administration further discretion in implementing the spending reductions, via the WFB:
The proposed plan is making the rounds on the Hill and garnering some support, but there are both Democrats and Republicans who aren’t so fond of the idea. Politico reports:
But the plan appears to have the backing of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and is being advanced by conservative Republicans who don’t want the White House to continue using the sequester as a public relations hammer. …
Supporters of the Republican sequester replacement proposal circulated by GOP Sens. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania and Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma believe it would make it harder for the administration to argue that the automatic cuts would imperil everything from food safety to airport security and give military leaders the flexibility to spare the most important programs from cuts. …
“Congress has a constitutional responsibility to authorize and appropriate for the nation’s security,” McCain said Tuesday. “And why give that responsibility over the president of the United States — and that renders us not just ineffective but irrelevant.”
Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby, the ranking member of the Appropriations Committee, is wary of ceding too much power to Obama to shift dollars.
“We ought to be watching that,” Shelby said. “You give a president all the power in the world, you’re giving up a lot.”
Anyway, whether the Senate proposal gains enough steam or not, as the President so dolefully communicated in yet another of his sequester-campaign speeches in Virginia on Tuesday, that approach simply won’t due:
Congressional Republicans have reportedly been working on legislation that would maintain the deep cuts in the sequester but give the president more leeway on what agencies to cut—effectively, a tactic to make him responsible for the results. …
“Lately, some people have been saying, ‘Well, maybe we’ll just give the president some flexibility. He could make the cuts the way he wants, and that way it won’t be as damaging,’” Obama said.
“The problem is when you’re cutting $85 billion in seven months, which represents over a 10 percent cut in the defense budget in seven months, there’s no smart way to do that,” he said. “You don’t want to have to choose between, let’s see, do I close funding for the disabled kid or the poor kid? Do I close this Navy shipyard or some other one?”
Because, we need more revenue! Or something.