Obama official blames GOP, wealthy for massive looming defense cuts
The Obama administration’s senior budget official blamed nearly $500 billion in looming mandatory defense cuts on “Republican refusal to have the top two percent pay their fair share,” a political jab that many members of the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) deemed offensive.
Jeffrey Zients, the Office of Management and Budget’s acting director, surprised lawmakers by engaging in a partisan attack after Republican members of HASC demanded to know exactly how the Obama administration plans to stave off nearly $500 billion in mandatory defense cuts known as sequestration.
The cuts are scheduled to kick in on January 2, barring a last minute budget compromise in Congress.
“What is holding us up right now is the Republican refusal to have the top two percent [of earners] pay their fair share,” Zients said in response to a question from Rep. Randy Forbes (R., Va.).
“The root cause problem here is the Republican refusal to ask the top two percent to pay their fair share,” he reiterated, much to the surprise of several committee members who slammed Zients for turning a practical hearing aimed at preventing catastrophic defense cuts into a partisan blame game.
Zients’ partisan remarks appeared to shock Rep. Mike Turner (R., Ohio), who chastised the Obama administration for showing a lack of seriousness about a series of cuts that will shrink America’s military and imperil the country’s national security.