Note to conservatives and to Senator John McCain: President Obama can halt sequestration. It’s amazing how many times members of the media and even Congress prove that they don’t read the very bills they’re talking about. In this case, the bill is the one called, on the street, The Sequestration Bill, and is actually called The Budget Control Act of 2011.
At the final Presidential Debate, President Obama said that “First of all, the sequester is not something that I’ve proposed. It is something that Congress has proposed. It will not happen.” He was talking specifically about the process of automatic spending cuts that is set to take place if, as the law reads in Section 251, “If, after June 30, an appropriation for fiscal year in progress is enacted that causes a breach the within a category for that year (after taking into account any sequestration of amounts within that category), the discre- tionary spending limits for that category for the next fiscal year shall be reduced by the amount or amounts of that breach.”
There’s an idea that that action is automatic, mechanistic, robotic. This idea is particularly prevalent among conservatives, who seem to want it more than Congress does.
According to The Huffington Post, a spokesman for Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell proved that he, and perhaps by extension his boss, doesn’t really know what the Budget Control Act of 2011 says: “we were all surprised by the President saying that the sequester ‘will not happen’ given that he still hasn’t presented a plan to make sure it ‘will not happen. While the Republican-led House has already taken action, Democrats in the Senate haven’t even passed a budget, and the President has presented no plan to prevent the defense cuts.”
On on MSNBC’s The Cycle, SE Cupp, who’s making the transition from leggy Fox News late night talker to mid-day pundit (I think the late night version’s better), said “Well, he (Obama) signed it (the Budget Act).
But it’s clear SE Cupp did not read it; you can read it here:
The President doesn’t have to present a plan, he just has to increase the debt ceiling. Moreover, the act specifically states on page 3 of the act “(3) MILITARY PERSONNEL.—If the President uses the authority to exempt any personnel account from sequestration under section 255(f), each account within subfunctional category 051 (other than those military personnel accounts for which the authority provided under section 255(f) has been exercised) shall be further reduced by a dollar amount calculated by multiplying the enacted level of non-exempt budgetary resources in that account at that time by the uniform percent- age necessary to offset the total dollar amount by which outlays are not reduced in military personnel accounts by reason of the use of such authority.”
So President Obama has the ability to protect military personnel, the heart of American Defense, from sequestration.
It helps to read bills before one talks about them.