Sean Hannity, host of Fox News’ Hannity, addressed President Barack Obama’s sequestration speech on February 19 calling it “Obama’s Mayan Apocalypse.”
During the segment Hannity stated the sequester was Obama’s idea in the first place. Hannity is not entirely wrong with that statement, but he does fail to address everything closer.
“The compromise that the White House proposed and supported became the Budget Control Act of 2011. It required $1.2 trillion of budget cuts and revenue that was to be determined later by a Super Committee of Congress. A January 15, 2012, deadline was set for that committee to come up with a plan. Sequestration was promoted as the harsh alternative. The thinking was that Democrats would favor domestic programs and Republicans Defense, so there was an incentive to come together. But by the end of January the committee failed and sequestration became the law of the land,” said Mark Trahant, who has been following the budget cuts for Indian country at www.facebook.com/IndianCountryAusterity.
What Hannity fails to mention is that at the time of the Act’s passing, then vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan and 201 other Republicans supported it. The sequester as passed included roughly $600 billion in “sequestration” cuts and another $487 billion in military-supported cuts. Those 202 Republicans came from 28 in the Senate and 174 in the House and included Rep. Howard P. McKeon (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, and Senator John McCain, (R-AZ), ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee according to The New York Times.
While speaking on the House floor, Ryan said, “It’s a good step in the right direction, and it is a huge cultural change to this institution. Both parties got us in this mess. Both parties are going to have to work together to get us out of this mess, and the real problem, I would add, Mr. Speaker [House Speaker John Boehner], is the fact that we spend way more money than we take in. We have to address that.”
So what led us to this point to begin with?
“The problem then (and now) is that there are two Republican parties. One party wanted to block the sequester and protect Defense spending. House Armed Services Chairman Buck McKeon went so far as to say that tax revenues were not as important as Defense. But that didn't sit well with the other faction, including much of the leadership. Representative Steve Scalise, (R-La.), chairman of the conservative caucus called the Republican Study Committee said they would have preferred to protect Defense, but only if that meant cutting discretionary programs as an exchange. ‘At the end of the day,’ he told the National Review. ‘We need to make cuts and they have to be real cuts,’” Trahant said.
Now as Congress is on vacation until the end of the week, any real movement on the sequester will come in the waning hours before it’s deadline of March 1 – nine days away.