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Public Statements

The Sequestration Myth

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. GOHMERT. I appreciate my friend from Georgia hosting this hour and also yielding. This is a very important topic, and people need to understand what's going on.

Now, as someone who was totally opposed to the deficit ceiling bill back in July, 1 1/2 years ago, I told our conference the Democrats and the President are never going to allow the supercommittee to reach an agreement because they want to blame cuts to Medicare on Republicans, when the fact is that ObamaCare cuts $700 billion from Medicare, and it has been and it's starting to be and it's going to get really much worse because of those cuts from ObamaCare.

To ourselves here in the House, over the last 2 years we have cut our own budgets--the Senate hasn't, but we've cut our own budgets here in the House over a 2-year period by over 11 percent, about 11.5 percent. This sequester is going to cut us another 11 percent. We're going to have cut nearly 23 percent of our own budgets. How did we do that? Did we lay off all our staffs and have a big press conference and talk about how terrible it was going to be? No. I know in my office we basically have what you'd call a hiring freeze. If we lost somebody, we haven't replaced them.

Tom Coburn first raised this point in a letter to the Deputy Director of Management for the White House, with all this gloom and doom about all the people that the President's going to have to fire because of the sequestration, because of a cut of about 2 percent of the budget, they're going to be firing all these people or furloughing all these people. At the same time, you can go online, you can order books, and you can see all the Federal jobs that this administration is still offering.

So an easy suggestion is how about instead of firing and furloughing all these people, just hold up on hiring some folks for a while. Across America, people know how to do that in business. Instead of firing everybody that's been with you for years, that's counting on that salary, if you have to cut the budget, the first thing you do is you maybe wait to hire somebody for a bit. That would be more caring--unless of course this administration is more concerned with showing that they hired somebody instead of just maintaining what they have.

We will have cut our ownselves here in the House, our own budgets 23 percent, approximately, over a 3-year period. If we can do it and still get the job done, then I feel sure the people in the White House, the people in the executive departments and all those people at the EPA that are trying to shut down our own energy production and put those people out of work, heck, maybe if they just shut down EPA for a little bit and let the States continue, like Texas has, to get their water cleaner and their air cleaner, maybe the jobs would increase. The President could take credit for that just by slowing the amount of regulation this President has been throwing on the American economy.

Another thing we hear today is that the President is now saying that on Friday, after the sequestrations have started and the military is having all these massive layoffs--and actually, the truth be known, after the President will have gotten what he had been hoping and trying to get for years, even as a U.S. Senator, and that is big cuts to the Defense Department--after the Defense Department cuts kick in, then, and only then, is he going to sit down and talk to congressional leaders.

Well, that's not hard to figure out. What a great political ploy, what a great political plan. A year and a half ago, the President and the White House came up with the idea of this massive sequester, and the biggest loser would be the Defense Department. Reluctantly, some people like me said, let's don't do this, let's have other cuts, let's don't let the President's plan, with all his massive cuts to defense and basically 2 percent cuts to other entities, let's don't let that happen. Let's really cut departments, cut things we really don't need.

But we ended up going along with the President's idea for sequester. Then after he gets the cuts to defense that he's been pushing for years and years, going back to his days as a U.S. Senator, he gets to come forward and spend millions and millions of dollars running around on Air Force One condemning Republicans in the House for cutting defense.

What a great thing. He cuts defense as he's been wanting to do for years, forces the Republicans to go along with it, and a year and a half later blames the Republicans for cutting defense and says, I wouldn't have done that, but now that defense is cut, now let's talk about restoring some of that money to groups, the Acorn-like groups out there that are going to suffer because they're not going to have money to spend on electing Democrats in the next election if we don't return the sequestered money.

The thing is, it's about $85 billion in cuts from a $3.6-trillion budget--not that we've passed a budget. That's just how much money will likely be spent, approximately. And it doesn't have to be that way.

One of the things that The Wall Street Journal pointed out in an editorial February 19 was they said that Americans need to understand that Mr. Obama is threatening that if he doesn't get what he wants, he's ready to inflict maximum pain on everybody else. He won't force government agencies to shave spending on travel, conferences, excessive pay, and staffing. He won't demand that agencies cut the lowest priority spending, as any half-competent middle manager would do.

Then they go on to talk about things. One of the things we find out today is that the administration has released people charged with felonies and said, look, if you don't restore the money to my agencies that I'm demanding, then I'm going to end up releasing more criminals on the American public. That is incredible. But he knows the mainstream media will give him cover. I hope and pray the American people will not give him cover, that we will demand what we've been telling the American public we were going to do, we made cuts. The cuts will be made. Now let's look for better ways after this to make cuts to other programs that need it.

With that, I yield back to my friend from Georgia.


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