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Boehner Column: The President's Sequester Still Needs to Be Replaced


Location: Washington, DC

Today, Congressman John Boehner (R-West Chester) released the following column discussing the president's sequester:

"For two weeks now, President Obama's sequester has been in place. And for two weeks, the White House has rightly faced criticism for its implementation of the sequester's across-the-board cuts.

"From shutting down White House tours to spreading fear of long lines at airports, I'm disappointed in the way that the administration has chosen to respond to the sequester. In the House of Representatives, we're keeping the U.S. Capitol open to the American people by cutting elsewhere in our operating accounts.

"With the national debt at $16 trillion, millions out of work, and prices for gas and groceries on the rise, our government can't continue to spend money we don't have. Like the People's House, executive agencies should also be looking to identify better ways to achieve savings. We already know the federal government spends millions on free cell phones, luxurious conferences, EPA grants for foreign countries, and -- I'm not kidding -- robotic squirrels.

"Unfortunately, it's clear that the president and his party in the Senate still aren't serious about replacing the sequester with smarter cuts. House Republicans acted twice over 16 months to replace the president's sequester with cuts and reforms that protect national security. Senate Democrats never voted on our bills, and have yet to pass a plan of their own.

"Instead, President Obama and Democrats remain focused on their campaign for higher taxes on all families and small businesses. Americans, however, know that the president already got revenue increases through ObamaCare and the fiscal cliff. And they know that if the president gets additional revenue, he will find new ways to spend it.

"As additional cuts loom, time is running short for President Obama to change course and show some real leadership to replace the sequester -- which makes indiscriminate cuts to military and defense, and was first proposed by the White House during debt ceiling talks in 2011.

"In a recent interview with the Dayton Daily News, Gen. Janet Wolfenbarger -- commander of Air Force Material Command at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base -- talked about the sequester and the 22-day furloughs scheduled to begin in April. In all, 13,000 civilians at Wright-Patterson under her command could be affected.

"The impact on my people, especially my civilians will be significant,' Wolfenbarger said. "I don't know anyone who can take a 20 percent cut to their income, with minimal notice, and not feel it.'

"I've heard similar concerns from many constituents with connections to the base. For example, Landon of West Alexandria emailed me recently to say "I am deeply concerned about the impact to [Wright-Patterson] and [its] mission… however, I am even more concerned with the impact on my personal finances. I am the provider in my family…' Douglas of Tipp City says "as a federal employee, I personally do not relish the idea of being temporarily furloughed, [but] it is imperative to bring federal spending under control.'

"I couldn't agree more, and that's why the House continues to focus on doing its part. A few days ago House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) introduced a bold proposal to balance the budget in 10 years and grow the economy, and recently we passed legislation to keep the government funded for the remainder of the current fiscal year at sequestration levels, while ensuring the military has the flexibility it needs to carry out its mission.

"We're also exercising House oversight power to highlight waste, expose phony claims, and keep pressure on Obama administration to replace the sequester with smart cuts, not tax hikes. Reps. Andy Harris (R-MD), Kristi Noem (R-SD), and Bill Shuster (R-SD) are among Members of Congress who've done a great job of this in recent weeks.0

"But ultimately, it will be up to President Obama to decide that he's ready to show some courage and replace the sequester with cuts and reforms that confront our debt problem so we can create opportunity and jobs. Here's to hoping that happens sooner rather than later."

Boehner represents Ohio's 8th District, which includes all of Butler, Clark, Darke, Miami, and Preble counties, and the southernmost part of Mercer County. He was first elected to Congress in 1990.

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