Steny Hoyer: Boston is ‘proof’ sequestration is bad, or something
posted at 3:21 pm on April 16, 2013 by Mary Katharine Ham
He was prompted by a reporter and didn’t bring this up on his own, so there’s a bit of distinction there. The question from the reporter seems to have been the rather leading “is Boston a reason to rail on your [insert favorite political target here]?” instead of what would have been more reasonable and newsworthy— “Will sequestration affect the investigation of the attacks in Boston at all?” The answer to the second question, according to Hoyer, appears to be no, but he gets in his crass politicization first. Oddly enough, I think left-leaning outlet TPM’s headline makes it sound a bit worse than it was.
Asked by a reporter whether Monday’s attack makes the argument for addressing sequestration, Hoyer explained, “I think there are multiple reasons for ensuring that we invest in our security — both domestic and international security. That we invest in the education of our children. That we invest in growing jobs in America. And don’t pursue an irrational, across-the-board policy of cutting the highest priorities and the lowest priorities essentially the same percentage…. I think this is another proof of that — if proof is needed, which I don’t think frankly it is.”
No doubt the events in Boston are “proof” that we should have government agencies with resources to execute the feds’ number one job, which is to protect citizens. Arguably, if the government spent a lot less time and money on things that aren’t its number one job, it’d be better at this, but I digress. Is there any evidence that sequestration has actually impeded that goal in this case? After all, aren’t Democrats usually the ones longing for a return to pre-9/11 (or at least, pre-Iraq/Afghanistan) defense and intel budgets? Suddenly, a tiny cut in a bloated post-2008 budget is sure to doom us to more terrorist attacks, and an inability to prevent or solve them? Well, not exactly, as Hoyer concedes:
“I doubt that [sequestration's] having any impact presently — and the reason for that, this is a priority item and I’m sure they’re shifting what resources are necessary. Even if they’re shorter resources than they otherwise would’ve had, I’m sure they’re putting all the resources necessary on this effort. Certainly at the federal level — I think the President’s made that pretty clear.”
So, what you’re saying is that the federal government is perfectly capable of making intelligent decisions about top priorities when obvious and necessary, shifting resources from the less important treadmill-shrimp studies of the day to Boston forensics, but you would rather it not have to prioritize at all. If Hoyer is indeed worried about sequestration’s impact, now would be a good time to ask for some of the flexibility in sequestration cuts the GOP tried to give President Obama but he rejected, to maybe cancel some FBI counterterrorism furloughs and trade them out with other, less important spending.
Steny Hoyer says the Boston bombing is proof of why sequestration is bad. Fail. livewire.talkingpointsmemo.com/entry/hoyer-bo…
— McKay Coppins (@mckaycoppins) April 16, 2013
I wonder if he’ll have to apologize.
Also, Steve King, wait until we know whether the guy’s a foreign national, huh?
“Some of the speculation that has come out is that yes, it was a foreign national and, speculating here, that it was potentially a person on a student visa,” King says. “If that’s the case, then we need to take a look at the big picture.”
On immigration, King says national security should be the focus now, and any talk about a path to legalization should be put on hold.
“We need to be ever vigilant,” he says. “We need to go far deeper into our border crossings. . . . We need to take a look at the visa-waiver program and wonder what we’re doing. If we can’t background-check people that are coming from Saudi Arabia, how do we think we are going to background check the 11 to 20 million people that are here from who knows where?”
King’s argument about national security concerns in the immigration bill is more convincing than Hoyer’s for never, ever cutting government spending ever, but they both harm their cause by jumping on it too fast, and without the necessary facts to support their statements.
Oh, hell, let’s just turn this into a dumb exploitation thread.
Congressman Peter King (R-NY) would like to increase government surveillance of public areas even though a gajillion people had a cell phone camera running on this event at the moment, making it one of the more photographed and recorded crimes in history.
ANDREA MITCHELL: Are Americans going to have to get used to more surveillance on a daily basis?
REP. PETER KING (R-NY): I think we do because I think privacy involves being in a private location. Being out in the street is not an expectation of privacy. Anyone can look at you, can see you, can watch what you’re doing. A camera just makes it more sophisticated, but it’s no different from your neighbor looking out the window at you or a police officer looking at you walking down the street.
So I do think we need more cameras. We have to stay ahead of the terrorists and I do know in New York, the Lower Manhattan Security Initiative, which is based on cameras, the outstanding work that results from that. So yes, I do favor more cameras. They’re a great law enforcement method and device. And again, it keeps us ahead of the terrorists, who are constantly trying to kill us.
And, our old pal Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA). He doesn’t quite go so far as to make the argument that the destruction wrought in Boston will be stimulative for the economy, but I’m sure that will come from someone. What he does say is this:
CNN HOST: What are your impressions of the response in Boston so far?”
FRANK: “I’m glad you raised that, because it gives me a chance to make a point I’ve felt strongly about,” said Frank. “In this terrible situation, let’s be very grateful that we had a well-funded, functioning government. It is very fashionable in America, and has been for some time to criticize government, belittle public employees, talk about their pensions, talk about what people think … of [their] health care. Here we saw government in two ways perform very well. … I never was as a member of Congress one of the cheerleaders for less government, lower taxes. No tax cut would have helped us deal with this or will help us recover. This is very expensive.”
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