Economy

Tracking Paul Ryan’s 5 Different Positions On The Sequester

House Republicans are attempting to blame Democrats and President Obama for “sequestration,” the automatic budget cuts that will begin taking effect on March 1 if Congress fails to avert them. But even as they cast that blame and ignore their own role in creation of the sequester, which wouldn’t exist had Republicans not refused to raise the debt ceiling in August 2011, Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) is expected to count the sequester’s automatic cuts in the next version of his budget, BuzzFeed reports:

According to two senior GOP aides familiar with Ryan’s thinking on the budget, the Wisconsin Republican and former vice presidential candidate will use the so-called sequester as part of the baseline level of spending for his budget.

Ryan’s position on the sequester has changed multiple times:

1. Helped make the sequester happen. Ryan was among the Republicans leading demands for spending cuts to offset a debt ceiling increase in the summer of 2011, and was among the leaders who refused to consider new revenues in those negotiations. Had Republicans not refused to raise the debt ceiling in the first place, the sequester wouldn’t exist.

2. Voted for plan to create the sequester, then bragged about it. Ryan took credit for the sequester in August 2011, bragging to Fox News that it guaranteed the massive budget cuts Republicans were seeking. “We got that in law,” he boasted. On the House floor, he said the Budget Control Act’s spending cuts were “a victory for those committed to controlling government spending.”

3. Called the sequester “devastating” during the presidential election. Ryan blasted Obama for wanting the sequester’s “devastating defense cuts” to take place during the presidential election, when he was the GOP’s vice presidential candidate.

4. Blamed the likelihood of the sequester occurring on Obama. The sequester “will probably occur” because “the president has not a proposal yet on the table,” Ryan told CBS News last week. “Don’t forget it’s the president who first proposed the sequester. It’s the president who designed the sequester as it is now designed,” he added.

5. Will include sequester cuts in his latest budget.

This is hardly a new strategy for Ryan, who crisscrossed the country blasting Obama for cutting Medicare spending even as he included the cuts in his last budget proposal and made even bigger changes to the program.