The battle over how to deal with the billions in automatic spending cuts due to take effect March 1 began heating up Monday.
House Speaker John Boehner began the week by offering the Republican view with a speech on the House floor. His comments:
"Now, if government spending does cause growth, as the president believes, we shouldn’t be having these problems. And then maybe it wouldn’t be so disappointing that his budget is late. Well, we are having trouble, in large part because spending is the problem. It’s what’s chasing jobs overseas and causing so much anxiety about our future.
“One example of something the president’s budget could have addressed is his ‘sequester.’ ‘Sequester’ is Washington-speak for ‘automatic spending cuts.’ The president first proposed this ‘sequester’ in 2011 and insisted it be part of the debt-limit agreement.
“Twice, the House has passed legislation to replace the president’s ‘sequester’ with common-sense reforms that would reduce spending, and preserve and strengthen our safety net for future generations. We’ve spelled it all out, done our work. Because we’re committed to getting spending under control. And we have long said there’s a better way to cut spending. Unfortunately, our Democratic colleagues in the Senate haven’t taken action. They haven’t acted on our plan to replace the president’s sequester or offered one of their own.
“What we should do is replace the president’s requester with responsible reforms that will help balance the budget in ten years. Our goal is to grow the economy, expand opportunity and prosperity, and ensure America maintains its leading role in the world with a strong national defense. To do that, we need to budget responsibly. We need a budget that reflects those priorities. But to replace the president’s ‘sequester,’ we need our Democratic colleagues to get serious about spending. I wish I could give the American people more cause for optimism, but we see the president’s budget is late and the Senate hasn’t passed a budget in nearly four years.
“This week, the House will act on a measure – introduced by the gentleman from Georgia, Mr. Price – that requires the president to submit a balanced budget. Because we know – and the American people agree – spending is the problem. And the sooner we solve our spending problem, the sooner we’ll solve our jobs problem too.”