Joining other Republicans who trumpet automatic, across-the-board cuts to preschool, education, unemployment benefits, and health services, House Judiciary Chair Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) said sequestration is “a legitimate effort” to implement budget cuts in a Wednesday address to the Ripon Society:
[There are] a whole array of other issues including the profligate waste in all sectors of the government as the administration attempts to vilify sequestration, a legitimate effort to cut 2.5 percent of the entire federal budget or about 7–8 percent of domestic and defense discretionary spending. At a time when the Department as purchased a new prison at a cost of $170 million when we have four new prisons all standing empty, and at a time when they are having $12 cups of coffee and $10,000 dollars pizza parties. So there will be questions there about why it is necessary to put deportable aliens, many of them criminal aliens, out on the street to save money where they can commit crimes against citizens of the U.S.
Goodlatte has expressed selective outrage over the budget cuts affecting immigration enforcement and airports. However, his home state Virginia will lose millions for primary and secondary education, affecting hundreds of teachers and 14,000 students, nearly $3 million for clean air and water services, child care for 400 children, vaccine services for more than 3,500 children, and much more. The Huffington Post also outlined 100 ways the sequester is hurting local communities across the country. But Goodlatte has zeroed in on the release of non-violent immigrants, who can be tracked through cheaper methods than detention at the cost of $164 a day.
This represents a marked change in the GOP’s tone on the sequester and a shift to blame the White House after forcing the sequester agreement in the first place. Reps. Mike Pompeo (R-KS), Raul Labrador (R-ID), and Blake Farenthold (R-TX) have downplayed how budget cuts have hurt everyday Americans to instead claim it is “working.”