Tipton: Calls by president signal progress
Calls by President Barack Obama to Republican leaders in Congress might signal a breakthrough in discussions over a scheduled March 1 slowdown in federal spending and tax increases, U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Colo., said.
Obama called House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., last week to discuss the sequester, which was a hopeful sign, Tipton said.
While he welcomed the calls to the GOP leadership, Tipton described as a “campaign scenario of fear” Obama’s comments about the threat of spending reductions, delivered against a backdrop of police officers, firefighters and other first responders.
The federal government employs no police officers or firefighters in Colorado, Tipton said.
In any case, Obama has the executive latitude to soften the effects of spending reductions more than he says, Tipton said.
House Republicans are unlikely to relax their insistence on spending cuts, Tipton said, noting that sequestration doesn’t actually cut spending.
Should sequestration go forward, it would slow the rate of growth in federal spending by $44 billion for the remainder of the current fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30, Tipton said.
The House already has passed two measures intended to address sequestration, but both are languishing in the Senate.
Obama should push Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., to take up those measures and allow the legislative process to deliver a bill the president could sign, Tipton said.