"Do or Do not. There is no try."

“Replace The Sequester, Not Sebelius”: While She Tries To Fix A Broken Website, Congress Allows Rest Of Government To Crash

An embarrassing mistake, which should be considered a scandal, has caused the Internal Revenue Service to perform far fewer tax reviews and cut back its fraud investigations, costing the Treasury billions of dollars. Have there been any angry House hearings? No.

That same mistake has forced the National Institutes of Health to cut more than 700 advanced research grants, delaying the progress of vaccines and experimental treatments. No hearings.

And it has cost the economy hundreds of thousands of jobs, according to the Congressional Budget Office, but there is no sign that Republicans want to investigate what went wrong.

That’s because the mistake is called the sequester, and Republicans know what went wrong: they caused it by threatening default in 2011 and then refusing any budget agreement that included new taxes the next year. They’d much rather investigate a serious bumble by the Obama administration in rolling out the health-care website — which will eventually be fixed — than examine the effects of their own actions.

The paradox of Republican complaints about the website’s failings has been widely noted: They are pretending to care about the technical problems of a law they want abolished. But in fact the hypocrisy goes much deeper than that. In virtually every department of government, the right wing has used the sequester to encourage government to stumble, creating backups and denials of service that will be far more damaging than the ones going on at The sequester, which has been the Tea Party wing’s sole legislative victory, is evidence that its members want government to do less with less, and that they aren’t interested in having it work efficiently in delivering services to the public.

Any lawmaker who came to Washington to improve government, rather than shrink it, would do everything possible to reverse the sequester, as Democrats will try to do in a budget conference beginning this week. (They will be joined in that effort by a few Republicans who want only to turn back the cuts to the Defense Department.) But most Republicans, ranging from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to the furthest extreme in the House, have said they have no intention of letting the budget caps expire, and certainly aren’t interested in replacing them with higher revenue.

The only thing they have clamored to replace is Kathleen Sebelius, the Health and Human Services secretary. While she tries to fix a broken website, Congress is allowing the rest of government to slowly crash.

By: David Firestone, Editors Blog, The New York Times, October 28, 2013

October 29, 2013 - Posted by | Affordable Care Act, Sequester | , , , , , , ,

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