President Obama vowed that allowing sequestration cuts to proceed would be painful, but revealing emails and his actions, such as canceling White House tours, are revealing that it may have been a political move rather than a regrettable decision.
The Secret Service estimates that the indefinite cancellation of White House tours would save about $74,000 per week. School groups are disappointed to hear their spring break trips to the White House have been scrapped.
In another move that raised eyebrows, an Agriculture Department official was instructed not to find ways to lessen the impact of sequestration. He was told by email, “[Y]ou need to make sure you are not contradicting what we said the impact would be.”
Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, told WND this clearly reveals the Obama sequestration strategy.
“It is just incredible that anybody would think like that. ‘Gee, we’re being cut so let’s make America hurt, make them suffer so they’ll give us more of our money,’” Gohmert said. “In the last four years, the executive branch budget has gone up over 20 percent, and they can’t stand to have that increase lowered to 18 percent increase? It is outrageous.”
Gohmert said the House of Representatives is a perfect example of a government entity that has significantly reduced operations expenses without reducing essential services.
“We have cut our own budgets by about 11.5 percent and then another eight-plus percent over next year. We will have cut our own budgets 20 percent. We haven’t cut constituent services. We’re still doing tours for constituents through the Capitol that is several times larger than the White House. They could do this. This is just a decision to punish people,” Gohmert said.
“Basically, somebody’s having a temper tantrum over there, and they want the American public to suffer until they get their full amount of their 20 percent increase in the size of their staffs,” he said.
Gohmert noted that Obama’s recent golfing trip to Florida cost about as much as 341 furloughed federal jobs. In response, he proposed an amendment to the continuing resolution to fund the government that no money be spent on transporting Obama to a golf course until White House tours resume.
Some observers suggest the Obama administration is giving the impression that the sequestration cuts are severe in order to improve its leverage for bigger fights over funding the government and the debt ceiling in the coming weeks. Gohmert believes the Obama approach is much simpler than that.
“It seems to be exactly in line with the treatment the White House has given people with whom they disagree,” he said. “If they don’t get their way, then they want to make the American people hurt so they’ll demand Congress give them what they want.”
At the same time, Gohmert is hopeful that the Obama administration’s tactics on a relatively tiny amount of spending cuts will embolden Republicans for the bigger battles to come.
“We’re in a fight to save this country,” he said. “We’re in a fight to do the moral thing and not spend money that future generations will have to pay back for us, cussing our name instead of blessing our name.”
So where would Gohmert start cutting? He would scrap $250 million in foreign and military aid to the Muslim Brotherhood-run government in Egypt. He would also slash foreign aid to Turkey over it’s increased hostility toward Israel and stop allowing union leaders to use taxpayer dollars to pay union workers for doing union work. Another cost-saving measure would be Gohmert’s annual push for his U.N. Voting Accountability Act, which would cut off all funds for any nation that votes against U.S. interests more than half the time.
“You don’t have to pay people to hate you,” he said. “They will do it for free.”
On Wednesday, the Republican-led House approved a continuing resolution to fund the government through September. The plan calls for keeping existing spending levels minus cuts mandated through sequestration. Many conservatives argue that the bill should have cut spending more aggressively, including a focus on de-funding critical aspects of the Obamacare. Others on the right see the GOP effort as one that would be hard for Obama to reject in the court of public opinion.
“I think you’ll see more people take that strong stand because we have got to stop the insanity,” Gohmert said. “There are some things within Obamacare like funding IPAB (Independent Payment Advisory Board) that we should have cut and we could cut. We can’t de-fund the whole thing at once, but there are outrageous amounts of money being spent for things that Americans don’t want it to be spent for and we could work on cutting those out of Obamacare. I’m hoping you’ll see more and more people taking that stand.”