February 26, 2013

Temper, temper, Johnny...

An angry and desperate-sounding Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) on Tuesday told members of the Senate to “get off their ass” and pass a bill to replace the $85 billion in across-the-board spending cuts that will kick in on March 1, also known as the sequester.

“We have moved a bill in the House twice. We should not have to move a third bill before the Senate gets off their ass and begins to do something,” Boehner told reporters in a press conference, repeating a message he had just delivered in a closed-door meeting of the House Republican conference.

Hopefully someone can do something before Friday, as the House of Representatives has taken the day off -- again.

The House in 2012 did approve measures twice to replace the cuts known as sequestration, but because a new Congress began in January, those bills are now inoperative. For some reason, Boehner is insisting that it's up to the Senate to come up with a new bill.

Senate Democrats have unveiled a package that would replace the sequester with a mix of spending cuts and tax increases. The Senate could act on a bill later this week, though it is unlikely to pass because Republicans oppose the tax hikes.

The Republicans are really have a tough time of it with this sequester. First, their talking point that the sequester was Obama’s idea was blown to bits by the discovery of a 2011 PowerPoint presentation that John Boehner gave to Republicans detailing his sequester idea. Then came a new poll that showed that only 42% of Republicans support their own party’s cuts only plan, and to top it off, the White House is reminding everyone that they have had a proposal on the table to deal with the sequester since December. Then there's the coup de grâce; the majority of Americans say that if the sequester is allowed to kick in, they will blame congressional Republicans.

As Roll Call reported, “The White House proposal still on the table from December would add roughly $600 billion in new revenue and $900 billion in spending cuts, or nearly a 60-40 ratio. The numbers are meaningless however, as long as the GOP continues to stick to its demand for an "all-cuts" alternative.

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