Obama: Republicans ‘chose’ the sequester

February 28, 2013

President Obama has released the following statement in response to the failure of the Senate to pass either a Republican or a Democratic sequester replacement bill:

Today, Republicans in the Senate faced a choice about how to grow our economy and reduce our deficit.  And instead of closing a single tax loophole that benefits the well-off and well-connected, they chose to cut vital services for children, seniors, our men and women in uniform and their families.  They voted to let the entire burden of deficit reduction fall squarely on the middle class.

I believe we should do better.  We should work together to reduce our deficit in a balanced way – by making smart spending cuts and closing special interest tax loopholes.  That’s exactly the kind of plan Democrats in the Senate have proposed.  But even though a majority of Senators support this approach, Republicans have refused to allow it an up-or-down vote – threatening our economy with a series of arbitrary, automatic budget cuts that will cost us jobs and slow our recovery.

Tomorrow I will bring together leaders from both parties to discuss a path forward.  As a nation, we can’t keep lurching from one manufactured crisis to another.  Middle-class families can’t keep paying the price for dysfunction in Washington.  We can build on the over $2.5 trillion in deficit reduction we’ve already achieved, but doing so will require Republicans to compromise.  That’s how our democracy works, and that’s what the American people deserve.

Worth noting: Even the Democratic bill, which mirrored Obama's ideas about how to replace the sequester, got some opposition from red state Democrats. So it wasn't just Republicans refusing to bring the bill to a vote.

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix.
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Aaron Blake · February 28, 2013