Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison and Republican Tom Cole got into a back-and-forth over the across-the-board cuts scheduled to take effect due to the looming sequester. Ellison brushed back at Cole’s suggestion that the sequester was President Barack Obama’s idea, blaming Cole and other Republicans for first threatening to not raise the nation’s debt ceiling in the summer of 2011.
“Well, Tom, the problem with saying this is the president’s idea is that you voted for the Budget Control Act,” Ellison said on ABC’s “This Week” with George Stephanopoulos. “I voted against it. We wouldn’t have ever been talking about the Budget Control Act but for your party refused to negotiate on the debt ceiling, something that has been routinely increased as the country needed it.
“You used that occasion… You used it at that occasion in 2011, August, to basically say, we are going to let — we’re going to default on the country’s obligations or you’re going to give us dramatic spending cuts. That’s how we got to the Budget Control Act.”
Cole said that Republicans would not accept any new revenue in a deal to avert the sequester. He suggested that the two parties’ positions had flip-flopped from the fiscal cliff, when Obama and Democrats had leverage.
“Politically, the Democrats are exactly where the Republicans were six weeks ago. Look, taxes were going up by law. … Now these cuts are coming by law. And it’s law that the president signed and advocated,” Cole said.
But Ellison, who is part of the Progressive Caucus proposing a “Balancing Act” to replace the sequester, warned of the consequences of the sequester’s implementation.
“It’s going to do everything opposite to what your party says that they want,” Ellison told Cole. “It’s going to create uncertainty. It’s going to increase the deficit. It’s going to increase unemployment. It’s going to be a problem.”
Here’s video of the pair’s back-and-forth, via ThinkProgress:
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