In a last-minute bid to minimize the most painful impacts of federal spending cuts – and perhaps blame – Republicans will propose this week allowing the government to choose where to cut.
They plan to introduce proposals to allow flexibility while maintaining the overall level of cuts mandated by a 2011 law.
The proposal is in response to the Obama administration’s repeated complaint that the law doesn’t allow managers the flexibility to shift the reductions from such areas as teachers or programs to help female victims of violence. It’s also a move to shelter the GOP from blame should the cuts cause widespread pain.
“As a leader, he should want as much flexibility as he can get from Congress,” said Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, the chairman of the Republican Governors Association. “When did he ever go to his Cabinet secretaries, his agency heads and say, ‘What would be the least painful . . . way?’ ”
Democrats criticized the proposal, however, saying it would lock in the overall level of cuts – $85 billion for this fiscal year and $1.2 trillion over 10 years – which they argue would hurt the economy. They’ll propose smaller spending reductions supplemented by tax increases.
“The overwhelming majority of Americans want us to compromise before our neighbors, friends and family members get pink slips or notices that they can only work for a few days a week this month,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.
So this is GOP 101, a move so stupidly partisan that even McClatchy is pointing out the obvious. They're literally proposing a bill that absolves them of any responsibility for the sequester. If the cuts are "miniscule" and helpful to the economy then why not own them?
Nobody seems to have the answer to that question, least of all the GOP.