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.
The reality is, most Americans don’t get what’s going on. The word “sequester” is hardly a part of everyday discourse. A poll published by The Hill newspaper on Feb. 11 found that only 36 percent of voters know what the sequester is.
Another 38 percent thought they knew, but picked the wrong answer. Twenty percent thought it had something to do with the debt limit. Eight percent thought it referred to a forthcoming ruling by the Supreme Court on the federal budget.
“Such a case would come as news to Chief Justice John Roberts,” the Hill quipped.