John Boehner Loved The Sequestration Deal In 2011 Before It Became Politically Toxic

John Boehner

Photo: Flickr

Over the past several days, Speaker John Boehner has tried to tie sequestration — the series of mandatory, across-the-board spending cuts  — to the President as opposition grows toward the coming austerity.On February 5, Boehner’s office released a statement on “the President’s Sequester.”

The president’s sequester should be replaced with spending cuts and reforms that will start us on the path to balancing the budget in 10 years.

On Friday, the Speaker attempted to coin the phrase “Obamaquester” to tie the series of mandatory cuts to the President. Boehner changed his Twitter profile picture to a section of Bob Woodward’s book detailing how the President initially proposed the sequester to satisfy the GOP need for cuts. 

The Speaker even proposed the cumbersome hashtag “#Obamaquester” to push the narrative.

This is rather strange, given the Speaker’s initial pride in the accomplishment of guaranteed spending cuts.

Recalling the negotiations of 2011, initially the President desired a clean increase in the debt ceiling — as preceding Presidents had recieved with little fight — and Boehner’s GOP wanted cuts. 

After the negotiation guaranteed $1.4 trillion of deficit reduction in exchange for a debt ceiling increase, Boehner was very pleased.

In an interview with CBS’ Scott Pelley from August 2011, Boehner conveys that he was very pleased with the result of the negotiation: 

Boehner: When you look at this final agreement that we came to with the White House, I got 98 per cent of what I wanted. I’m pretty happy.

That’s a far cry from blaming the Obama administration for devastating cuts. Here’s the full video of the interview: 

UPDATE 2:30 PM: Brandon Buck, the Press Secretary for Speaker John Boehner, has pushed back on White House Press Secretary Jay Carney linking this quote with the sequester.

The gist is that Boehner originally came to an agreement with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on a plan, and that this plan was scrapped for the eventual Budget Control Act which contained the sequestration clause. 

Essentially, the 2 per cent that Boehner didn’t want was the sequestration:

Yes, the bipartisan Budget Control Act as originally conceived by Speaker Boehner, Senator Reid, and Senator McConnell did not include the sequester. The one change to the original deal was the inclusion of this trigger mechanism – so that the President would not have to deal with the debt limit again before his re-election campaign. It was only at the White House’s insistence that we now have what is popularly known as the Obamaquester. It’s a fact.


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