February 23, 2013
Obama's Lies About the Origin of the Sequester
President Obama has been making a big deal about blaming Congress for the sequester, even saying at one point during his debate with Romney last year, "The sequester is not something that I've proposed," Obama said. "It is something that Congress has proposed."
He either has a short memory or is a bald faced liar, as Bob Woodward points out:
The White House chief of staff at the time, Jack Lew, who had been budget director during the negotiations that set up the sequester in 2011, backed up the president two days later.The president's apologists like to point out that the GOP voted for it, and are therefore culpable. But no one is saying Republicans didn't support the idea of the sequester. The question is who made it up and who is responsible for pushing it?
"There was an insistence on the part of Republicans in Congress for there to be some automatic trigger," Lew said while campaigning in Florida. It "was very much rooted in the Republican congressional insistence that there be an automatic measure."
The president and Lew had this wrong. My extensive reporting for my book "The Price of Politics" shows that the automatic spending cuts were initiated by the White House and were the brainchild of Lew and White House congressional relations chief Rob Nabors -- probably the foremost experts on budget issues in the senior ranks of the federal government.
Obama personally approved of the plan for Lew and Nabors to propose the sequester to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.). They did so at 2:30 p.m. July 27, 2011, according to interviews with two senior White House aides who were directly involved.
Nabors has told others that they checked with the president before going to see Reid. A mandatory sequester was the only action-forcing mechanism they could devise. Nabors has said, "We didn't actually think it would be that hard to convince them" -- Reid and the Republicans -- to adopt the sequester. "It really was the only thing we had. There was not a lot of other options left on the table."
This is the president's baby and now, he wants to run away from it by blaming it all on his opponents. Very few in the media have acknowledged the president's lies and simply don't report the fact that it was his OMB director who came up with the idea.
It's why the GOP will probably be blamed for any pain caused by the sequester