Feb 22, 2013

For House Republicans, Sequester Debate is Only Getting Worse

Tea Party House Republicans are determined to drive the country over the sequester cliff, and their rigid ideology will not only kill more than a million jobs, but will do even more damage to an already imperiled Republican brand.

 

The Republican Congress created a manufactured crisis with this sequester that will damage the middle class. Now they are refusing to solve the crisis - by continuing to protect their tax breaks for millionaires and corporate special interests. The result: Tea Party House Republicans may well be manufacturing record disapproval and backlash for their own Republican Congress.

 

From local coverage in vulnerable Republicans’ districts to national polling showing the public places the blame on them, Republicans are already losing this fight – and the cuts have not even taken effect. Once House Republicans force the sequester to hit so that they can protect special interest tax breaks for millionaires and corporations, public pressure for a solution will only increase.

 

  • Democrats’ Economic Narrative Still Trumps GOP’s. “Congressional Republicans figured that after the fiscal cliff, they’d have the advantage talking about the sequester and, down the road, the continued funding of the government. Clearly, they were wrong… During the past few weeks, Democrats have raised the specter of key personnel from teachers to meat inspectors being thrown out of work if the sequester isn’t delayed, to say nothing of the surge in unemployment nationally and the possibility of a recession. The Republican message? Taxes are too high. We just raised taxes. We won’t compromise. And the party of Lincoln and Reagan wonders why it is losing.” [Stuart Rothenberg, Roll Call, 2/21/13]

 

  • GOP’s Weak Position on the Sequester. “Republicans stand to pay the steepest political price. It’s not even close right now… Republicans find themselves in a weak position – politically – because they’ve yet to propose ANY kind of compromise that recognizes they don’t control the White House or the U.S. Senate.” [First Read, 2/21/13]

 

  • The Tea Party’s Astonishingly Bad Message on Sequester Cuts. “House Speaker John Boehner describes the upcoming sequester as a policy ‘that threatens U.S. national security, thousands of jobs and more.’ Which leads to the question: Why would Republicans support a measure that threatens national security and thousands of jobs?... Could the GOP message on the sequester be any more self-defeating?” [Washington Examiner, 2/20/13]

 

  • Why the Tea Party Congress won’t win a sequester fight with President Obama – in three easy steps. “1. Regular people have no idea what the sequester is right now and, even once it kicks in, aren’t likely to pay all that close of attention to it unless they are directly affected by it. 2. Obama is popular with the American public 3. Congress is not… Sequestration will, barring some sort of political deus ex machina, happen. But congressional Republicans may well look back and rue the day.” [The Fix, 2/20/13]

 

House Republicans are alienating Americans with their dysfunction and extremist policies, and now are on the verge of a massive wave of public anger for the chaos and crisis they created – and refuse to stop.

 

  • Obama Rated at 3-Year High in Poll, Republicans at Bottom. “President Barack Obama enters the latest budget showdown with Congress with his highest job-approval rating in three years and public support for his economic message, while his Republican opponents’ popularity stands at a record low…Public views of congressional Republicans’ record places an added burden on them in the standoff over automatic spending cuts.” [Bloomberg, 2/20/13]

 

  • On issues, public is more aligned with Obama than GOP. “[T]hose automatic spending cuts, known as the sequester, that are poised to take effect next week? If no deal is reached to avert them, half of Americans say congressional Republicans will be more to blame. Less than a third would blame Obama first.” [USA Today, 2/21/13]

 

This is not an abstract debate fought only in Washington; the sequester will have far-reaching consequences for millions of Americans. Republicans’ refusal to compromise will be felt in districts across the country.

 

  • Pentagon warns workers may need to take unpaid leave if sequester kicks in. “The Pentagon warned 800,000 civilian employees worldwide Wednesday that they will be forced to take unpaid leave if deep budget cuts take effect next week…The nation’s two senior national security officials, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta and Secretary of State John F. Kerry, said Wednesday that the reductions would hurt the nation’s global standing.” [Washington Post, 2/21/13]

 

  • Frustrated fliers have feds to thank. “Travelers should brace for longer airport lines and possible flight delays after March 1 if automatic federal spending cuts reduce staffing as scheduled, government and industry officials warn. ‘This truly could become a nightmare for travel’ says Geoff Freeman, chief operating officer of the U.S. Travel Association.” [USA Today, 2/21/13]

 

  • Border patrol agents to be furloughed for up to 14 days, union says. “Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials are preparing to issue furlough notices of up to two weeks in mid-March, according to a federal employees union in talks with the agency.” [The Hill, 2/21/13]

 

  • Former NIH director: The sequester will set back medical science for a generation. “I think the suddenness of it and the depth of it would be a disaster for research, which is not an activity that you can turn on and off from year to year. It’s an activity that takes time. The most impacted are the young, new investigator scientists, who are coming into science, and will now abandon the field of science. […] It will impact science for generations to come.” [Washington Post, 2/21/13]

 

  • Budget cuts could result in up to 20 percent pay cut for federal workers. “[A]gencies are preparing to force unpaid furlough days on workers that could cost them up to a fifth of their pay.” [Washington Post, 2/21/13]

 

House Republicans are already feeling the heat from voters in their districts, who will have to live with the job losses, furloughs and service disruptions that this Tea Party Congress is creating.

 

  • Worried Residents Seek Answers from Rep. Gary Miller at Rancho Cucamonga office. “The group, made up of seniors and working people, said Laurie Stalnaker, executive secretary-treasurer for the AFL-CIO's Central Labor Council of San Bernardino and Riverside Counties, wanted to tell the Republican congressman they didn't want reductions in Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid funds.” [Contra Costa Times, 2/20/13]

 

  • Citizen Action protests Sequestration at Congressman Hanna’s Office. “As the March 1st deadline for Sequestration is fast approaching, Southern Tier residents are making their voices heard. Citizen Action gathered outside Congressman Richard Hanna's office in the Metrocenter to protest the proposed cuts…The effect could be felt here in the Southern Tier in the enrollment and employment numbers at Binghamton University. ” [WICZ.com, 2/20/13]

 

  • Demonstrators at Gibson’s Office say Budget Cuts Would Hurt Poor. “’If we're going to call ourselves a Christian nation, then let's act like a Christian nation and take care of the poor,’ said the Rev. Darlene Kelley, pastor of the Clinton Avenue United Methodist Church in Kingston. Kelley and 25 others participated in a news conference Wednesday, protesting the potential cuts.” [Times Herald-Record, 2/21/13]

 

The DCCC is on offense, making sure that voters know it is House Republicans who are forcing these indiscriminate and harsh cuts down Americans’ throats so that they can protect millionaires and special interest tax breaks. House and Senate Democrats have offered compromise measures to balance the cuts and prioritize spending.

 

  • ‘Your Pink Slip:’ DCCC on Offense. “The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee will begin an offensive on Thursday as well, accusing Republicans of risking 700,000 jobs to protect ‘special interest tax loopholes’ that Democrats say can be closed to mitigate the impact.” [New York Times, 2/21/13] “[I]f the sequester sky does fall, Republicans hold the weaker hand. And Democrats -- this DCCC video targeting House Republicans is an example -- are on the offensive.” [First Read, 2/21/13]

 

  • DCCC Places Sequestration Blame on Republicans With New Ads. “The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is launching paid online advertising that attempts to saddle House Republicans with responsibility for the impending series of automatic cuts known as the sequester…The ad, which is the first phase of what the DCCC called a ‘paid grassroots advertising’ campaign to place blame for the sequester on Republicans, will run online in the districts of 27 Republicans the DCCC sees as vulnerable.” [The Hill, 2/21/13]

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