President Obama is becoming frustrated enough with the GOP to say that he believes there’s nothing he can do to get them to come to the table with a balanced approach to the budget. Following meetings with Democratic governors from around the country, Governor Peter Shumlin of Vermont said to the press, “If we’re willing to give millionaires and billionaires more breaks, and take from Americans who are struggling in the middle class, they’re willing to talk. I don’t think any of us are optimistic.”
Republicans have been adamant about no more tax increases. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) insisted in a Wall Street Journal op-ed that the American people understand that the tax debate is over, and Republicans will accept no deal that includes any more tax increases. The truth of the matter is that polls have shown that a large majority of the American people, including a majority of people who identify as Republican, believe the best answer to our budget woes is a combination of tax increases and spending cuts.
President Obama and the Democratic Party went into their new terms believing that the threat of economic problems and the cuts that will be made to the Department of Defense would push Republicans into some type of a compromise on budget issues, however, such has not been the case, and Democrats are becoming increasingly pessimistic about gaining GOP cooperation.
Given the antics they performed to accomplish their goal of making Obama a one-term president, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Congressional Republicans see the sequester going into effect as a way to boost their own image by blaming the whole thing on the president and the Democrats, since they’ve been saying for months that both refuse to work with them on spending cuts. It’s become one big game of “he said, she said.”
But to let the sequester go into effect won’t just hurt Democrats no matter how they try and spin it; it will also hurt them in their home states. ThinkProgress took a look at leading Republicans’ home states to see what’s likely to happen after March 1st.
- John Boehner’s home state of Ohio will see a loss of $25.1 million in education funding, as well as $1.7 million in job training and over $800,000 that provides meals to the elderly.
- Virginia, the home of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, will lose $14 million in education funding, $1.2 million that provides meals to the elderly, and $348,000 for job training and placement assistance.
- Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell will see his home state of Kentucky stripped of $11.8 million in education funding, $478,000 for job training and placement assistance, and another $677,000 will be taken from programs that provide meals to the elderly.
Those are just the big three when it comes to Congressional Republicans’ home states. ThinkProgress also looked at two others, with similarly devastating numbers. To see how the sequester will affect your state, click here.
There are calls from other quarters of the GOP to stop being the party of “no,” and start working on a real compromise with Democrats. Arizona Governor Jan Brewer told CBS’ “Face the Nation” that Congressional Republicans should compromise on tax increases instead of letting the sequester go into effect.
It’s hard to believe that the GOP is willing to see this happen to their home states and other red states just to make a point. In fact, it’s hard to believe that they’d be willing to see the cuts they keep decrying as devastating for states, for the people, and for the economy, go into effect just to make a point. Hurting your entire country, just to make a point, is probably one of the dumbest things you can do as an elected official. President Obama’s frustration with the GOP is easy to understand.