So there, say Democrats, the sequester is really a Republican idea.
The bottom line, concludes FactCheck.org, is that it doesn’t matter. Both parties are responsible for this puppy, the fact-checking site’s report says, because they both voted for it.
“The reality is that the pending cuts would not be possible had both Democrats and Republicans not supported the legislation that included them,” FactCheck says.
The sequester was part of the Budget Control Act (BCA) of 2011, which passed the House with 269 “yea” votes – 174 Republicans and 95 Democrats. In the 100-seat Senate, Democrats made up most of the 74 "yea" votes, but there were 28 Republicans in that majority, as well.
Still, reminders of that bipartisan vote haven’t stopped the blame game. In an opinion article in Wednesday’s Wall Street Journal, Speaker Boehner asserts once again that Obama “invented” the sequester, and that the president’s warnings about its fast-approaching implementation are ironic, given that it is a product of the president’s own “failed leadership.”
Boehner acknowledges that both congressional Republicans and Democrats “reluctantly” went along with the sequester, as part of the BCA, which kept the nation from defaulting on its debt. Furthermore, the sequester would not have come into play if Congress’s bipartisan “supercommittee” – another creation of the BCA – had fulfilled its task: coming up with $1.2 trillion in spending cuts over 10 years.
Boehner and Obama have put out conflicting versions of what each proposed behind closed doors in the summer of 2011, creating an endless loop of “he said, he said.” The public is left with little to go on in assessing the mess.