03.21.2013 0

House Democrats repeat Sandy sequester lie

By Robert Romano — Shameless. There is simply no other way to describe the disgraceful “end of the world” proclamations by Democrats describing the effects of budget sequestration.

The claims have bordered on the sick and twisted, such as Sen. Harry Reid’s blaming the tragic deaths of seven Marines in Nevada in an accidental explosion on sequestration cuts to “training and maintenance.”

To the alarmist, that midair collisions — a highly improbable event with just an average 13 occurring every year out of more than 30 million flights annually — would spike through the closure of a small number of air traffic control towers.

And the silly, such as the White House complaining about $540 million fewer Small Business Administration loans all the while ignoring the fact that the agency would still carry on more than $10 billion in loans this year anyway.

But perhaps the most dishonest claim came from a Sunday, Feb. 3 editorial, “A million jobs at stake,” that alleged the $50.5 billion of “aid just approved for victims of Hurricane Sandy will fall under the sequester’s ax.”

A claim that has now been repeated by members of Congress, including Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), and Frank Pallone (D-NJ), reported by the Connecticut Post’s Bill Cummings in the story, “Sequester could cut Superstorm Sandy funds.”

Cummings reported DeLauro as claiming “across-the-board cuts required by the fiscal stalemate in Washington could remove billions from a bill approved in January to aid Sandy victims and help Connecticut, New Jersey and New York harden infrastructure.”

She cited a supposed $2.5 billion reduction in the Sandy relief package, including a $1 billion cut to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and a $1.5 billion cut to the federal Community Development Block Grant program.

There is only one problem. She’s not referring to the $50.5 billion hurricane disaster relief law.  She’s talking about general agency cuts that occur under sequester unrelated to the disaster relief appropriations — for example in which FEMA will be cut $878 million and yet still receive $9.7 billion.

As far as the hurricane disaster relief bill is concerned, in section after section are provisions explicitly exempting Hurricane Sandy from being subjected to sequestration.

Each section of the bill appropriating money reads something akin to “That such amount is designated by the Congress as being for an emergency requirement pursuant to” the Budget Control Act (BCA) of 2011.

By designating the spending as emergency or disaster-related, under the BCA, the provision requires the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to adjust upwards the spending limits allowed under sequester. Meaning they’re exempted.

Even the Associated Press caught this nuance after the legislation passed: “As with past natural disasters, the Sandy aid bill is not offset with spending cuts, meaning the aid adds to the deficit. The lone exception is an offset provision requiring that $3.4 billion for Army Corps of Engineers projects to protect against future storms be covered by an equal amount of unspecified spending cuts in other programs before next October.”

So, it’s just a lie, plain and simple, to say Sandy spending is subject to sequestration. It isn’t. In fact, there were votes in the House and Senate to pay for the disaster spending with offsetting cuts elsewhere in the budget, and they were all defeated.

The politically motivated uproar over minor federal government cuts is nothing more than an attempt to make the cutting of government spending in the future politically untenable.

The denizens of big government like Rosa DeLauro and Harry Reid will stoop to any level to protect an ever-growing, avaricious government that strangles the free enterprise system, up to and including using storm victims and dead Marines as props.

Any American who trusts this crew would be making the same mistake that a chicken would make who trusted Colonel Sanders. The end result is the same.

Robert Romano is the Senior Editor of Americans for Limited Government.

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