Tuesday morning, flanked by uniformed police, facing a crowd that included “first responders” and activists from private groups such as the National Arthritis Foundation, President Barack Obama issued his latest warning on sequestration. He said that those drastic cuts will hurt individuals such as those in the auditorium of the Executive Office Building unless Congress comes up with an alternative plan by March 1.
“We can’t do these sad cuts,” declared Mr. Obama, pointing out that what he called the “automatic, brutal spending cuts” will take a toll on the U.S. Border Patrol, lead to the furloughs of FBI agents, and thousands of teachers being laid off.
As both the president and press secretary Jay Carney have done in nearly all of their recent appearances before the White House Press Corps, Obama laid the lash of his rhetoric on failure to come up with an alternative to sequestration on Republicans in Congress.
“So far at least, the ideas Republicans have, ask nothing of the wealthiest Americans,” he said — his latest way of characterizing the statements of House Speaker John Boehner and other GOP lawmakers.
In Obama’s words, this was “like Democrats saying ‘it’s all taxes'” to solve the debt crisis.
And again, the president called on Republicans on Capitol Hill to “compromise” and not just vote “to protect a few of the wealthiest Americans.” In calling for “compromise,” he again stated “my door is open” and “no one will get 100 percent of what they want but no one should want sequestration.”
Robert Guidos of the Infectious Diseases Society of America, who was brought to the White House Tuesday by the administration, freely volunteered that his organization gets relatively little federal money and he was there primarily because he wants to see fairness in the solution of the debt crisis.
“Deficit reduction is not an economic plan,” Guidos told us.
Whatever impact Tuesday morning’s session at the White House will have on the ultimate fate of sequestration is unclear. What is fairly certain is that we will see more of these campaign-style events throughout the fiscal wars of 2013.