Friday, March 1, 2013

Sequestration Meeting with Obama Cut Short as McConnell and Boehner Had Flights to Catch After Working Three Days This Week

Unlike previous budget clashes over the last two years, neither Obama or the Republicans showed any interest in trying to negotiate a last-minute deal. Obama said a country like America should not be forced to run its economy making deals on a month to month basis and he is looking for a long-term solution: what he referred to as a balanced approach, a combination of spending cuts and new taxes.

Minority Leader McConnell (R-KY) and Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) did the bidding of the Koch Bros and other big donors in a short meeting at the White House on Sequester and then left to catch a plane.  Since Boehner abdicated the role of the House in the Sequestration process to the Senate and GOP Senators made sure no bill passed out of the Senate, it is up to the President to order the cuts throughout the Government.

May I make a few suggestions?

  • Stop all Air Force air travel for members of Congress - no more boondoggles on the taxpayers nickle.
  • Demand that Congress cut even more then DoD - say 18% which would be double.  Trim their office and committee staffs which have grown over the years since GOP took over under Bush.  My bet is the American people would be happy too see the Congress budget slashed.  If Rand Paul did not use $600K  for office/staff, it is time the rest cut corners.  Sen Rubio (R-FL) going to Israel and Jordan on our nickle right before sequestration shows a total disregard for the American taxpayer.  He is all about Rubio and nothing else just like a spoiled selfish brat.  He votes against Hurricane Sandy relief and then goes to Wall Street to raise money.  
  • Cut all emergency aid for states where members of Congress voted against Hurricane Sandy relief
  • Shut down Cabinet people testifying to Congress - no need to hold hearings and waste money
  • Suspend production of F-35 which has not completed flight test.  DoD lowered the Specs because the F-35 couldn't meet the original specs and now fleet is grounded due to a crack in a fan blade in the engine.  Stop millions going to Lockheed and other big Defense Contractors on programs they are over budget and behind schedule.  Lot to cut at Defense - cannot wait to see SecDef Hagel start slashing unnecessary programs.
  • Suspend and cancel all big oil/gas subsidies.  Note:  This should be permanent
  • Don't approve Northern Keystone pipeline - not enough inspectors
  • Time for GSA who controls all Government buildings/transportation/utilities to cut transportation used by Members of Congress.  Stop reimbursement for travel as well.  Cut back on utilities as Congress doesn't need heat or cooling in the Chambers since they only work three days a week.  BTW, Senate has not approved new head of GSA as they have an acting director since April 2012 like ATF has had an acting director for seven years.
Those are just a few suggestions and could come up with plenty more out of Defense.  Very happy that SecDef Hagel was confirmed before sequestration happened as you are not going to fool him - he knows how Congress and DoD operates.

As someone said on Twitter, the USPS employees want to work six days a week while the GOP in Congress want to work three days a week.  Time for new Dem leadership in the Senate as Reid is almost as bad - only one with a backbone is Nancy Pelosi.  House and Senate Dems are mostly staying in DC to try and get something done.  Reid got snowed by McConnell on the filibuster because of the NRA and the Country is paying for it today because of the Senate had been able to pass a bill instead of not getting 60 votes to pass, the pressure on the House would have been huge on Sequestration.  Reid was played for a fool by McConnell.

Republican House is out of town now as they have spent their three days in DC.  Time to get Friday and Monday off back in their Republican districts where no one can find most of them.  What a bunch of scum who live off the taxpayers of this Country while all they care about is making sure that their big donors keep tax loopholes while the rest of the Country suffers.  Where is the House Budget?  Excuse me, as I forgot that Boehner said let the Senate do it when it comes to Sequestration even when bills dealing with the budget are to originate in the House.  It seems the Constitution that gives the House the primary role in the Budget is just a pesky document until it says something they want like the 2nd amendment.  Even then they have a lack of reading comprehension - a well regulated militia is the State National Guard not the rogue militia that the Tea Party loves.

Speaking of reading comprehension how did the House GOP come up with the fact that taxes were raised for the wealthy when it was the Bush tax cuts expiring.  Big difference between expiring and raising taxes from scratch.  IMHO, taxes for the wealthy should have risen even more.

Republican House members Cantor and Ryan have now taken responsibility for sequestration idea - so much for Boehner blaming Obama.  I am happy to see that Obama has now come out publicly blaming the GOP for 'dumb' and 'arbitrary' spending cuts.  Tea Party is getting what they want with a tanked economy along with slashed Government spending that will hurt seniors, middle class, and children the most, but preserves tax loopholes for the wealthy.
Obama blames Republicans for ‘dumb’ and ‘arbitrary’ spending cuts
By Ewen MacAskill, The Guardian Friday, March 1, 2013 15:44 EST 
President warns US to prepare for drawn-out standoff after futile meeting with congressional leaders over scheduled cuts 
Barack Obama is due to sign an order before midnight on Friday to implement $85bn in spending cuts, a move he described as “dumb” and “arbitrary” and that he blamed on the intransigence of Republicans in Congress. 
Speaking at a White House press conference after a futile meeting with congressional leaders, Obama warned Americans to prepare for a drawn-out confrontation that could last for months and will be painful for working-class people. 
Federal agencies will spend the weekend redrawing their budget plans and beginning the process of sending out letters to federal workers giving them 30 days notice of shorter hours, furloughs and even lay-offs. The White House budget office also has to inform Congress of where the spending cuts are to be made. 
The hardest-hit department will be the Pentagon, which will have to find more than $40bn in savings between now and September, about 9% of its overall budget. But almost every government department, from aviation to the park service, will be hit, with cuts amounting to about 5% of their overall budgets. Only Medicaid and welfare benefits such as food stamps are exempted. 
Obama met Republican congressional leaders Mitch McConnell and John Boehner and their Democratic counterparts Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi at the White House on Friday morning but it was a largely pointless exercise. The meeting broke-up after less than an hour without any hint of a deal in the offing. 
The impact of the budget cuts, known as the “sequester”, will be felt almost immediately in some areas but most will be a slow burn, not coming into effect until next month. 
Obama, after being asked why he had not been able to push the Republicans in negotiating, said: “I am not a dictator. I’m the president.” He could not force them to sit down in a room to do a deal, he said. “So ultimately if Mitch McConnell or John Boehner say ‘We need to go catch a plane,’ I can’t have secret service block the doorway.” 
“We will get through this. This is not going to be an apocalypse, I think as some people have said,” Obama said. “It’s just dumb. And it’s going to hurt. It’s going to hurt individual people and it’s going to hurt the economy overall,” he said.

Read More at Raw Story

Robert Reich's article from yesterday details the Sequester and the Tea Party Plot that is driving this.  Remember when you see Tea Party to automatically say Koch Brothers who are behind the Tea Party and have bought and paid for many members of the GOP along with other big donors.  Obstructionism, arrogance, and stupidity are alive and well in today's GOP.  Can you say John Birch Society in action?
The Sequester and the Tea Party Plot  
Robert Reich 
Thursday, February 28, 2013 
Imagine a plot to undermine the government of the United States, to destroy much of its capacity to do the public’s business, and to sow distrust among the population. 
Imagine further that the plotters infiltrate Congress and state governments, reshape their districts to give them disproportionate influence in Washington, and use the media to spread big lies about the government. 
Finally, imagine they not only paralyze the government but are on the verge of dismantling pieces of it. 
Far-fetched?  Perhaps. But take a look at what’s been happening in Washington and many state capitals since Tea Party fanatics gained effective control of the Republican Party, and you’d be forgiven if you see parallels. 
Tea Party Republicans are crowing about the “sequestration” cuts beginning today (Friday). “This will be the first significant tea party victory in that we got what we set out to do in changing Washington,” says Rep. Tim Huelskamp (Kan.), a Tea Partier who was first elected in 2010.Sequestration is only the start. What they set out to do was not simply change Washington but eviscerate the U.S. government — “drown it in the bathtub,” in the words of their guru Grover Norquist – slashing Social Security and Medicare, ending worker protections we’ve had since the 1930s, eroding civil rights and voting rights, terminating programs that have helped the poor for generations, and making it impossible for the government to invest in our future. 
Sequestration grew out of a strategy hatched soon after they took over the House in 2011, to achieve their goals by holding hostage the full faith and credit of the United States – notwithstanding the Constitution’s instruction that the public debt of the United States “not be questioned.” 
To avoid default on the public debt, the White House and House Republicans agreed to harsh and arbitrary “sequestered” spending cuts if they couldn’t come up with a more reasonable deal in the interim. But the Tea Partiers had no intention of agreeing to anything more reasonable. 
They knew the only way to dismember the federal government was through large spending cuts without tax increases. 
Nor do they seem to mind the higher unemployment their strategy will almost certainly bring about. Sequestration combined with January’s fiscal cliff deal is expected to slow economic growth by 1.5 percentage points this year – dangerous for an economy now crawling at about 2 percent. It will be even worse if the Tea Partiers  refuse to extend the government’s spending authority, which expires March 27. 
A conspiracy theorist might think they welcome more joblessness because they want Americans to be even more fearful and angry. Tea Partiers use fear and anger in their war against the government – blaming the anemic recovery on government deficits and the government’s size, and selling a poisonous snake-oil of austerity economics and trickle-down economics as the remedy. 
They likewise use the disruption and paralysis they’ve sown in Washington to persuade Americans government is necessarily dysfunctional, and politics inherently bad. Their continuing showdowns and standoffs are, in this sense, part of the plot.   
I suggest the President forget about a “grand bargain.” In fact, he should stop talking about the budget deficit and start talking about jobs and wages, and widening inequality – as he did in the campaign. And he should give up all hope of making a deal with the Tea Partiers who now run the Republican Party.Instead, the President should let the public see the Tea Partiers for who they are — a small, radical minority intent on dismantling the government of the United States. 
As long as they are allowed to dictate the terms of public debate they will continue to hold the rest of us hostage to their extremism.
 Read More from Robert Reich
If that is not enough to make your blood boil, then read the real truth about the founding of Tea Party that has been discovered during an investigation.  The results are going to surprise you but when you connect the dots, it makes sense.

IMHO Koch Brothers, Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, Scaiffe Foundations, Pete Peterson and others who have loyalty to the John Birchers are behind what is happening to the Nation right now.  These big wealthy donors want unions destroyed along with the minimum wage and middle class to have an elitist group of people with all the money who run the Country while we get the scrapes.  Right now President Obama is standing in their way along with Nancy Pelosi and Democrats in the Senate like Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and others who are fighting for the Middle Class against the wealthy GOP donors.

We need to make our voices heard in 2014 and kick out the Tea Party not only from the Congress but from the State Houses.  It is time for a coalition to form of like minded citizens no matter the party who see the danger coming from the hard right and Tea Party members of Congress.  All the various groups working together can defeat the Tea Party and, in turn, the wealthy Republican donors who are driving this campaign to wreck America for their own selfish reasons.

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