Republicans have been been clear that they do not regard deep, looming cuts to defense and domestic programs — the enforcement mechanism at the heart of last year’s debt limit agreement — as a reason to compromise with Democrats and put real tax revenues into the mix of cuts and reforms required to reduce deficits over time.
But in recent weeks they’ve taken things a step further. They’ve disavowed the so-called “sequester” altogether and handed full responsibility for its existence to President Obama — despite the fact that an overwhelming majority of them voted to implement it last August.
“It was the president who came up with the sequester because he didn’t want the debt limit to get in the way of his campaign,” said House Speaker John Boehner at his weekly press availability last week. “Now these cuts are looming and he’s nowhere to be found.”
Not sure how that could be less true. It’s certainly not what Boehner was saying last November.
“I would feel bound by it,” he said. “It was part of the agreement. And so either we succeed or we are in the sequester. The sequester is ugly. Why? Because we don’t want anybody to go there. That’s why we have to succeed.”
And let’s review what Boehner said when the budget deal was passed almost exactly one year ago.
Boehner: I do. When you look at this final agreement that we came to with the White House, I got 98 percent of what I wanted. I’m pretty happy.
Of course, we all knew at the time Republicans would never honor the agreement. But I didn’t expect them to pretend they never voted for it. Sadly, fully 27%-40% of the voters will believe them. Not like anyone on the nightly news is going to call the Republicans out for lying about it. And I imagine the official Village fact-checkers are even now madly parsing the statements looking for that one grammatical twist that makes it at least partly true.