Griffin: Press Discredits White House’s Questionable Claims

WASHINGTON – Congressman Tim Griffin (AR-02) issued the following statement regarding President Obama’s sequester scare tactics:

“President Obama has done nothing to replace the sequester cuts he proposed back in 2011—the same cuts he now claims to oppose.  But he has launched a coordinated political campaign in a desperate attempt to scare Americans, belied by the fact that Washington will still spend more this year than it did last year.  So far, his Administration has falsely claimed the sequester will impact an agency that doesn’t exist, wrongly said teachers will be laid off, hastily canceled the USS Harry S. Truman’s return to the Persian Gulf, and foolishly released hundreds of illegal immigrants from jail.  While the President’s rhetoric is at fever-pitch, his questionable claims of catastrophe are quickly crumbling.  Instead of deliberately undermining the government’s ability to provide critical services in order to score political points, President Obama should stop and consider the real people who will be forced to deal with the consequences of his irresponsible actions.”

The White House’s Questionable Claims Crumble:                                                        

1: White House Report Claims Sequestration Will Affect Federal Department That No Longer Exists.  “[T]he OMB's September 2012 report says that under sequestration the National Drug Intelligence Center would lose $2 million of its $20 million budget…. [But] the National Drug Intelligence Center shuttered its doors on June 15, 2012[.]”  (Reason, 2/25/13)

2: Teacher Pink Slips Claim by Duncan Not Backed by Evidence.  “‘There are literally teachers now who are getting pink slips, who are getting notices that they can’t come back this fall,’ Education Secretary Arne Duncan said Sunday on CBS’s ‘Face the Nation.’  When he was pressed in a White House briefing Wednesday to come up with an example, Duncan named a single county in West Virginia and acknowledged, ‘whether it’s all sequester-related, I don’t know.’  And, as it turns out, it isn’t.  Officials in Kanawha County, West Virginia say that the ‘transfer notices’ sent to at least 104 educators had more to do with a separate matter….  They don’t necessarily mean a teacher has been laid off….  [Only] about five to six teaching jobs…were likely to be cut regardless of the sequester.”  (The Washington Post, 2/27/13)

3: Journalist Bob Woodward Says President Obama Canceling Aircraft Carrier’s Deployment Is “a Kind of Madness.”  “The Washington Post’s Bob Woodward attacked President Barack Obama on Wednesday, saying the commander-in-chief’s decision not to deploy an aircraft carrier because of budget cuts is ‘a kind of madness.’”  (Politico, 2/27/13)

4: Illegal Immigrants Released from Jail Due To Budget Cuts Yet to Occur.  “The announcement that a few hundred illegal immigrants were being released was among the most significant and direct implications described so far by the Obama administration about the pending, automatic budget cuts that will take effect later this week under what is known as sequestration.”  (Politico, 2/27/13)