March 8, 2013 in Uncategorized
Finally we hear Scott Brown hitting a home run on Sequestration. He rightly points out that Barack Hussein Obama conceived and created Sequestration. While he was still serving in the Senate, the leaders Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell both told him that Sequestration would never happen!
Jon Scott: And here we are with the White House closed to school kids The Administration can’t find a better way to save a couple of bucks?
Scott Brown: Listen, the bottom line is the Republicans have offered, and it makes common sense that the president should have what is called “Transfer Authority”. The ability to get in there and Kind of reopen and tweak the Sequester in a whole, and actually delegate – do thoughtful, judicious, methodical cuts. For example in the military, they need that. Give it to Heigl. Let him go in with a fine tooth-comb, no a scalpel I should say, to make the cuts that you need to make.
The President does not want this authority [“Transfer Authority”] because he wants to make the Republicans look bad. Everybody knows it and it’s time to show real leadership.”
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL – POTOMAC watch: March 8, 2013, 9:29 a.m. ET
Strassel: Jumping the Sequester
By KIMBERLEY A. STRASSEL
When the president canceled White House tours, he revealed his claims as ludicrous.
The phrase “jumping the shark” describes that gimmicky moment when something once considered significant is exposed as ludicrous. This is the week the White House jumped the sequester.
The precise moment came Tuesday, when the administration announced that it was canceling public tours of the White House, blaming budget cuts.
The Sequesterer in Chief has insisted that cutting even $44 billion from this fiscal year will cause agonizing pain—airport security snarls, uninspected meat, uneducated children. Since none of those things has come to pass, the White House decided it needed an immediate and high-profile way of making its point. Ergo, it would deny the nation’s school kids a chance to view a symbol of America.
The act was designed to spark outrage against Republicans, yet the sheer pettiness of it instead provided a moment of clarity. Americans might not understand the technicalities of sequester, but this was something else entirely. Was the president actually claiming there was not a single other government item—not one—that could be cut instead of the White House tours? Really?
The cancellations were an open invitation for the nation to dive into the gory depths of the federal budget—and re-emerge with a debate over waste and priorities. Over the past week, an entire cottage industry has sprung up of journalists, watchdog groups and average citizens reporting on the absurdities of federal spending. Republicans have lit up Twitter with examples of indefensible projects (#SequesterThis).
We’ve learned that the White House employs three calligraphers, who cumulatively earn $277,000 a year. The Environmental Protection Agency gave $141,000 to fund a Chinese study on swine manure. Part of a $325,000 National Science Foundation outlay went to building a robotic squirrel.
The government gave a $3,700 grant to build a miniature street in West Virginia—out of Legos. It shelled out $500,000 to support specialty shampoo products for cats and dogs. A San Diego outfit got $10,000 for trolley dancing. The feds last year held 894 conferences that each cost more than $100,000—$340 million altogether. But Mr. Obama is too broke to let American kids look around the White House.
Related Video Available at WSJ Online
Speaking of that, the tour stunt itself is turning into a PR fiasco. ABC reports the cancellations save a total of $18,000 a week. A Forbes opinion piece noted the cost of cutting the tours was equal to about two hours operating Air Force One. Speaker John Boehner twisted the knife, announcing that while Congress was also getting hit by sequester, it had planned wisely, and tours of the Capitol would continue. Come on down folks! Visit the government branch that knows how to prioritize!
To top it off, a group of cherubic sixth-graders from St. Paul’s Lutheran School in Waverly, Iowa, became a national sensation in a YouTube video pleading with the White House to reopen tours. “The White House is our house. Please let us visit,” they beg in unison. The White House hasn’t yet responded, no doubt being too busy overseeing its $27 million project that helped fund pottery classes in Morocco. (No joke.)
This is the opportunity Republicans have been pushing for, to pivot the sequester discussion to the problem of spending, and they are taking a lead from Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn. This was the guy, remember, who in 2005 offered an amendment to remove funds from a little thing he called the Alaskan “Bridge to Nowhere” and to divert them to a vital bridge destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. The Bridge to Nowhere became such an embarrassing symbol of waste, Congress ultimately gave up earmarks.
Not all Republicans appreciated that episode, but they took away a couple of valuable political lessons. One, the public responds strongly to examples of waste. And two, the way to claim the high ground in such a debate is to contrast that waste with projects of real importance (like the Katrina bridge). Both lessons are tailor-made for today’s sequester fight.
Sen. Coburn himself has daily been sending letters to federal agencies, demanding that they justify their decisions to furlough existing workers rather than forgo new hires or fancy conferences. His efforts were one reason the Department of Agriculture spent this week stuttering out a justification for its sponsorship of a wine junket in California.
Utah Sen. Mike Lee has been producing graphics that show, for instance, pictures of free government cellphones next to pictures of border agents—with the Twitter tag #CutThisNotThat. Since late February, the House GOP has been highlighting its own #CutWaste projects, each of which contrasts Mr. Obama’s call for taxes with an example of embarrassing government outlays.
The White House’s shark-jumping moment has given these efforts new attention and threatens to take the sequester debate to a place this overconfident administration never imagined. The whole point of the White House’s effort to make the cuts hurt was to convince Americans that they couldn’t live without big, sweeping government. Now Americans are asking how the White House justifies living with it.
Read More: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323628804578346811646984052.html#articleTabs%3Dvideo
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