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Government email instructs department head to make sequestration as painful as possible

Thursday, March 07, 2013 by: J. D. Heyes
Tags: sequestration, government, spending cuts

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(NaturalNews) Prior to the current budgetary sequestration, President Barack Obama went on the record publicly warning Americans of dire consequences should the planned cuts that he himself helped devise - and eventually signed into law - be allowed to go into effect.

"This work, along with hundreds of thousands of jobs, are currently in jeopardy because of politics in Washington. In a few days, Congress might allow a series of immediate, painful, arbitrary budget cuts to take place, known in Washington as the sequester," he said Feb. 19 at a shipyard in Newport News, Va. "These cuts are wrong. They're not smart, they're not fair."

Continuing, Obama predicted more dire consequences:

If the sequester goes into effect, more than 2,000 college students would lose their financial aid. Across the country these cuts will force federal prosecutors to close cases and potentially let criminals go. Air traffic controllers and airport security will see cutbacks and that could cause delays at airports across the country.

The president also warned that the cuts would lead to furloughs of 800,000 federal defense workers, as well as layoffs of local first responders, police and firefighters (all of whom, by the way, are paid with local funds, but I digress).

Self-fulfilling prophecy?

After the March 1 deadline passed and the sequestered cuts became mandatory, Obama eased off his dire warnings, though with far less fanfare, admitting that the cuts would not be as devastating as he claimed they would be.

"We will get through this. This is not going to be an apocalypse, I think as some people have said," he said, following a nearly hour-long meeting with lawmakers March 1. As you have read, "some people" who have said the sequester was going to be apocalyptic includes, of course, the president.

Apparently, however, Obama is set to make his initial claims that the sequester would be painful on Americans a self-fulfilling prophesy, according to government emails that have been publicized by the Washington Times:

The Obama administration denied an appeal for flexibility in lessening the sequester's effects, with an email this week appearing to show officials in Washington that because they already had promised the cuts would be devastating, they now have to follow through on that.

In the email sent Monday by Charles Brown, an official with the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service office in Raleigh, N.C., Mr. Brown asked "if there was any latitude" in how to spread the sequester cuts across the region to lessen the impacts on fish inspections.


The answer from the White House, quite simply, was...no.

'The Obama administration is doing everything it can...'

"We have gone on record with a notification to Congress and whoever else that 'APHIS would eliminate assistance to producers in 24 states in managing wildlife damage to the aquaculture industry, unless they provide funding to cover the costs.' So it is our opinion that however you manage that reduction, you need to make sure you are not contradicting what we said the impact would be."

In other words, agency officials are being told by the president - who is head of the Executive Branch and directly oversees the vast array of government agencies - to make pain so he can blame it on the sequester and, by default, the opposition party.

"This email confirms what many Americans have suspected: The Obama administration is doing everything they can to make sure their worst predictions come true and to maximize the pain of the Sequester cuts for political gain," said Rep. Tim Griffin, a Republican lawmaker from Arkansas.

APHIS is an agency within the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and on March 5, during a congressional hearing, agency head Tom Vilsack said he hadn't seen the email Brown referenced.

"If we have flexibility, we're going to try to use it to make sure we use sequester in the most equitable and least disruptive way," Vilsack said in response to a question from Rep. Kristi Noem, R-S.D. "There are some circumstances, and we've talked a lot about the meat inspection, where we do not have that flexibility because there are so few accounts."

Noem said the email made it sound as if the administration was attempting to use the sequester for political gain.

"I'm hopeful that isn't an agenda that's been put forward," she said.

Sources:

http://www.washingtontimes.com

http://www.abc.net.au/worldtoday/content/2013/s3699345.htm

http://thehill.com

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