The Obama administration is urging federal officials not to exercise maximum flexibility in implementing automatic spending reductions in order to validate White House talking points, according to an e-mail sent Monday. In the message, Charles Brown, a regional director of the federal Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), recalls asking senior administration officials “if there was any latitude in how the sequestration cuts . . . could be managed” in order to minimize their impact on federal fish inspections.
Brown said officials in Washington advised him against trying to lessen the impact of the cuts because the White House had already “gone on record” indicating how severe they thought the effects of sequestration would be on the wildlife industry, so managers should therefore ensure that the cuts are as advertised.
Brown wrote: “The response back was, ‘We have gone on record with a notification to Congress and whoever else that “APHIS would eliminate assistance to producers in 24 States in managing wildlife damage to the aquaculture industry, unless they provide funding to cover the costs.” So, it is our opinion that however you manage that reduction, you need to make sure you are not contradicting what we said the impact would be.’”
Republicans have accused the administration intentionally undermining government operations for political purposes. “This email confirms what many Americans have suspected: The Obama Administration is doing everything they can to make sure their worst predictions come true and to maximize the pain of the Sequester cuts for political gain,” Representative Tim Griffin (R., Ark.) said in a statement. “Instead of cutting waste, the Obama Administration is hurting workers. President Obama should stop protecting wasteful government spending.”