Today, Congressman Rick Crawford (R-AR), issued the following statement in response to the Obama Administration's effort to intentionally undermine government operations in order to score political points:
"This leaked email proves the Obama Administration is playing political games with the sequester. Like many of my constituents I grow more troubled each day with President Obama's unwillingness to put the good of the American people ahead of his political agenda. It's unconscionable that high-ranking government officials would be more interested in maximizing the pain of the sequester instead of being focused on finding a solution."
In an internal USDA email, Charles Brown, the agency's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service's (APHIS) eastern regional director, asked his superiors about the flexibility he had in trimming his program's budget in light of the sequester. The response from the Obama Administration was clear:
"We have gone on record with a notification to Congress and whoever else that "APHIS would eliminate assistance to producers in 24 States in managing wildlife damage to the aquaculture industry, unless they provide funding to cover the costs.' So, it is our opinion that however you manage that reduction, you need to make sure you are not contradicting what we said the impact would be."
According to Brown's email, that response came from someone in the USDA's Office of Budget and Program Analysis (OBPA), which is responsible for "coordinating the preparation of the Department's budget estimates, legislative reports and regulations. OBPA provides direction and administration of the Department's budgetary functions including development, presentation, and administration of the budget," according to the agency's website.
Emails between APHIS officials show disagreement with the administration's strategy. In response to Brown's email, one APHIS official replied, "For the record, I strongly disagree with how was as an agency are moving forward with this.