Probably the latest dumbest thing Congressional Republicans have done was to a) blame Obama for the sequester, b) pronounce the sequester a disaster, and c) leave town while refusing to do anything about the sequester. Already defeated at the polls on November, Republican numbers are sinking. The general public has caught on: the Republicans are largely responsible for the mess in Congress and, therefore, in the nation.
A short time ago, the White House issued a statement.
“If these cuts go into effect, hundreds of thousands of jobs could be lost and middle class families all across the nation will feel the devastating impact,” the statement said.
It added that Republicans would be blamed for the economic damage from the sequester. “With less than two weeks before these cuts hit, the president will challenge Republicans to make a very simple choice,” the statement said. “[D]o they protect investments in education, health care and national defense or do they continue to prioritize and protect tax loopholes that benefit the very few at the expense of middle and working class Americans?”Obama favors replacing the sequester with a combination of spending cuts in automatic programs like Medicare and Medicaid and new tax revenue, raised by scaling back tax breaks that benefit the wealthy and select industries, such as energy firms. ...WaPo
The Times' Jackie Calmes expands on the earlier report.
Speaking in a White House auditorium surrounded by blue-uniformed emergency responders to illustrate some of the jobs threatened if the cuts were to take effect, Mr. Obama warned that military readiness and vital domestic services would be hurt “if Congress allows this meat-cleaver approach to take place.” ...NYT
The Republicans, anxious to get the ball into Obama's side of the court, find the damn ball bouncing right back at them. Their refusal to consider "revenue" isn't working all that well.
Even as Congress shut down for the week, the President, back in the White House, surrounded himself with "first responders" when he spoke this morning. He hammered at the Republicans' stand on taxes and on their efforts to protect only the wealthiest.
“The ideas that the Republicans have proposed ask nothing of the wealthiest Americans or biggest corporations, so the burden is all on first responders or seniors or middle-class families,” Mr. Obama said, adding that those proposals would “slash Medicare and investments that create good middle-class jobs.”
“So now Republicans in Congress face a simple choice,” he added. “Are they willing to compromise to protect vital investments in education and health care and national security and all the jobs that depend on them, or would they rather put hundreds of thousands of jobs and our entire economy at risk just to protect a few special-interest tax loopholes that benefit only the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations?”
Republicans, seeking to put blame on Mr. Obama if the cuts occur, have repeatedly noted that the White House proposed the sequester idea during debt talks in mid-2011. But both parties overwhelmingly supported the proposal as part of their deal. ...NYT
In other words, the Republican party has nowhere to hide. They'll hear about it -- for sure -- if the sequester lands on the necks of middle-class Americans, wipes out a significant number of jobs, and cripples regular services. All of this is compounded by voters' increasing awareness that -- once again and in the middle of a mess they made -- Congressional Republicans left Washington to enjoy yet another mini-vacation.