Congresswoman to Obama: ‘Stop Scaring People’

Elizabeth Harrington | February 26, 2013 | 1:40pm EST
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Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-Kan.). (AP)

( – Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-Kan.) told President Barack Obama to “stop scaring people” over the sequester—the automatic spending cuts set to take effect on Friday (1.2% of budget in 2013) — and work with Congress to find a solution.

On Tuesday, President Obama will visit Newport News Shipbuilding, which builds and designs nuclear-powered vessels for the U.S. Navy, to argue that the sequester will be devastating to jobs and the middle class “if congressional Republicans fail to compromise.”

Jenkins said Obama should instead be in Washington, D.C.  to work with lawmakers.

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“The fact is, when we accepted the president’s sequester 18 months ago, we made a deal, a dollar for cuts for a dollar of debt limit increase,” she said during a press conference with House Republican leaders.  “If he wants to do the bait-and-switch now, we will have lied to our constituents by replacing those with tax increases.”

“This leads you to the truth, and the truth is the president needs to come back from his campaign style tour, stop scaring people, and work with us to address the issue of the debt and deficits, get the economy moving and people back to work,” Jenkins said.

Jenkins added that the sequester only amounts to “about 2.5 percent” of cuts to the federal budget.

“Find me an American family, a hardworking taxpayer that hasn’t already cut over 2 percent out of their budgets at home without cutting essential things,” she said.

President Barack Obama. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

“There’s a fact that says we are going to take in more money this fiscal year than we have ever taken in before,” Jenkins said.  “The budget this year, we will spend more money this year than we spent last year even if the sequester goes into effect.  We will spend more money even if the sequester goes into effect.”

The sequester totals $1.2 trillion in cuts over 10 years split evenly among defense and discretionary spending as a result of the Budget Control Act of 2011.  The cuts were set to take effect on Jan. 2, but were delayed until March 1 as part of the fiscal cliff compromise.

In 2013, because of ongoing contracts and the way federal budgeting works, the sequester would actually amount to $44 billion in spending reductions, a mere 1.2 percent of federal spending for the year, which is enough to run the government for 4.5 days, and less than what Rep. Jenkins stipulated.

President Obama, who created the idea of the sequester, is now against the sequester, saying it will lead to massive layoffs and accusing Republicans of choosing to protect the wealthy over first responders.

“[T]housands of teachers and educators will be laid off, and tens of thousands of parents will have to scramble to find child care for their kids,” Obama said during his weekly address on Saturday.  “Air traffic controllers and airport security will see cutbacks, causing delays across the country.”

“That’s what this choice means,” Obama said.  “Are Republicans in Congress really willing to let these cuts fall on our kids’ schools and mental health care just to protect tax loopholes for corporate jet owners?  Are they really willing to slash military health care and the border patrol just because they refuse to eliminate tax breaks for big oil companies?”

“Are they seriously prepared to inflict more pain on the middle class because they refuse to ask anything more of those at the very top?” Obama said.

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