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Scare Tactics on Sequester Won’t Solve the Problem



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On Tuesday, the president surrounded himself with first responders and blamed Congress for his own sequestration proposal.

On Wednesday, Secretary of Defense Panetta issued a message to the Department of Defense and notified Congress of civilian personnel furloughs under the looming March 1 sequestration.

Scare tactics about the looming sequester will not solve the problem.

Instead of more blame and explanation, it’s time for leadership.

At the beginning of this year, Republicans worked with the president to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff. We approved a two-month delay of the sequester, intended to provide room and time for a larger solution.

House Republicans have also passed multiple bills to replace the sequester with responsible spending cuts. Senate Democratic majority leader Harry Reid blocked these bills and never allowed them to get a vote.

Time is running out.

Sequestration is about living up to the promises of cutting government spending. America has a spending problem and Washington cannot ignore it any longer.

Under President Obama:

Spending has increased from $2.98 trillion in FY 2008 to $3.54 trillion in FY 2012. As a percentage of GDP, spending has increased from 20.8 percent in FY 2008 to 22.8 percent in FY 2012.

Debt has increased by nearly $6 trillion in four years: from $10.6 trillion when the president was inaugurated to over $16.5 trillion today,

Four deficits in a row of over a trillion dollars, where we never had a single-year deficit of more than $500 billion in our history before.

No meaningful mandatory spending reforms have taken place, despite the fact that mandatory spending will increase by 80 percent in the coming decade, compared to an 11 percent increase in discretionary spending.

If we don’t responsibly cut spending, Americans will continue to watch Washington waste their money and limit their personal freedom.

I think there are much better ways to do these budget cuts, and I welcome that sort of discussion with the president, but the cuts are going to occur. We’re talking about 2.5 percent of what we spend this year.

Instead of showing leadership, the commander-in-chief continues to call for more taxes on hardworking taxpayers.

His allies in Congress have put forward yet another unworkable and impassable proposal to raise taxes without serious spending reform. The furloughs that have been threatened will never materialize if the president starts asking more from Washington and less from America’s hardworking taxpayers.

— John Barrasso, a United States senator from Wyoming, is chairman of Senate Republican Policy Committee.



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