Obama Decries ‘Meat-Cleaver’ Approach of Sequestration

Susan Walsh/AP

President Obama called for a delay in sequestration on Tuesday to give lawmakers time to reach a budget compromise, describing the across-the-board cuts a major blockade to economic progress.

Obama said federal employee furloughs would come at the cost of middle-class taxpayers who rely on a variety of federal programs.

“Border Patrol agents will see their hours reduced,” Obama warned at a press conference in the White House. “FBI agents will be furloughed. Federal prosecutors will have to close cases and let criminals go.  Air traffic controllers and airport security will see cutbacks, which means more delays at airports across the country. Thousands of teachers and educators will be laid off.”

Flanked by emergency responders whose jobs would also be threatened by sequestration, Obama said the cuts fail to distinguish between antiquated programs with bloated budgets and essential services such as childcare and access to preventative health care like cancer screens. He added, however, that senselessness in the policy was intentional so the cuts would be avoided.

“This was all designed to say ‘We can’t do these bad cuts; let’s do something smarter.’ That was the whole point of this so-called sequestration,” he said.

Obama acknowledged there is room for the government to operate more efficiently.

“In the abstract, people like the idea, there must be some spending we can cut, there must be some waste out there,” he explained. “There absolutely is. But this isn’t the right way to do it”

He also said sequestration harms America’s ability to protect its interests.

“If Congress allows this meat-cleaver approach to take place, it will jeopardize our military readiness,” Obama said, pointing out plans to deploy an aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf have already been delayed due to budget concerns.

Obama called for a delay to the cuts “not to kick the can down the road, but to give [Congress] time to work together on a plan that finishes the job of deficit reduction in a sensible way.”

He said such a plan should include targeted budget cuts as well as tax code reform to eliminate loopholes benefiting the wealthy, vowing to veto any legislation that “harms the middle class.”

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.