Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) on Sunday called out Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) for complaining about drastic cuts in the so-called “sequester” after Republicans forced it by refusing to raise the debt ceiling and risking default for the first time in the nation’s history.
“This was a presidential suggestion back in 2011 — an idea — and, yet, the president himself hasn’t put out any alternative,” Cole said during a panel segment on ABC. “Republicans twice in the House have passed legislation to deal with it, once as early as last May, again after the election in December. The Senate has never picked up either of those bills, never offered their own thing.”
“Now, we’re three weeks out [from the sequester deadline] and folks are worried,” he continued. “They ought to be worried. On the other hand, these cuts are going to occur. The real choice here is do you want cuts to be redistributed in other ways, which is the sensible thing to do, or do you want to let this happen?”
Ellison, however, pointed out that Republicans couldn’t place all the blame on President Barack Obama after they voted for the sequester created by the Budget Control Act of 2011.
“Well, Tom, the problem with saying that this is the president’s idea is you voted for the Budget Control Act, I voted against it,” Ellison noted. “We wouldn’t ever have been talking about the Budget Control Act but for your party refused to negotiate on the debt ceiling, something that has been routinely increased as the country needed it.”
“You used that occasion in 2011 — August — to basically say, we’re going to default the country’s obligations or you’re going to give us dramatic spending cuts. That’s how we got to the Budget Control Act.”
The Minnesota Democrat added that the sequester was projected to increase both unemployment and the deficit.
“It’s going to do everything opposite to what your party says they want,” he told Cole. “It’s going to create uncertainty, it’s going to increase the deficit, it’s going to increase unemployment, it’s going to be a problem.”
“We don’t have a presidential proposal,” Cole opined. “I don’t think you speak for the president.”
Watch this video from ABC’s This Week, broadcast Feb. 10, 2013.