NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – It’s once again time for Fact Check Friday, where, with the help of factcheck.org, a nonpartisan non-profit part of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, we uncover who is telling the truth and who is saying something else.
Today on Fact Chek Friday: #obamaquester
That’s the hashtag being used by some Republicans, including the House Speaker John Boehner, to blame President Barack Obama for the automatic federal cuts that are a week away.
“The sequester is there because the President insisted that it be there. Where’s the President’s plan to replace the sequester that he insisted upon?” said Boehner.
Is Boehner right? WCBS 880’s Wayne Cabot ran the question past Eugene Kiely at factcheck.org.
The Speaker says Americans blame the President for this. Was this the President’s idea?
“It was the President’s idea, but to call it President’s sequester and to blame him entirely for it is wrong because both sides can share in this blame. In fact, the House Republicans voted for it in very large numbers, including John Boehner,” Kiely told Cabot.
So, Boehner voted for the sequester and now he’s calling it “Obamaquester?”
“Yes,” said Kiely. “In fact, John Boehner was rallying votes in order to get this thing passed.”
Boehner said these cuts – $1.2 trillion – are a meat cleaver. Is there any discretion in this?
“The cuts are across the boards. There would be some flexibility that the administration’s going to have in imposing these, but not a great amount of flexibility because they can’t take more money out of one budget line than another because it’s across the board, and that’s the whole point” Kiely said. “This was done by both sides. Both sides agreed to this because they wanted to make it so unpalatable that they would force the Democrats and the Republicans to come up with a plan to prevent this from happening.”
Sen. John McCain admitted to some responsibility, but with a qualifier.
“Republicans deserve blame. I’ll take some blame for it. But the President of the United States is supposed to lead,” he said on “Meet the Press.”
So, for the record, not all Republicans are using the “Obamaquester” talking point.
The Obama administration is warning that automatic spending cuts scheduled to take effect March 1 will result in travel delays at major airports and require traffic-disrupting shutdowns of air traffic control towers at smaller facilities.
Transportation Secretary Ray La Hood says the across the board reductions will require trimming $600 million this year form the Federal Aviation Administration. La Hood says that will require furloughing air traffic controllers, which in turn will reduce the ability to guide planes in and out of airports.
He says travelers could experience 90 minute delays or more in major cities.
Visitors to America’s national parks will encounter fewer rangers, find locked restrooms and visitors centers, and see trashcans emptied less often if 5 percent across-the-board cuts are enacted by sequestration.
A National Park Service internal memo obtained by The Associated Press compiles a list of cuts in services in parks from Cape Cod to Yosemite. It’s the result of an order by Park Service Director John Jarvis in January that asked superintendents to show how they will absorb the funding cuts.
Most of the park system’s $2.9 billion budget is for fixed costs such as salaries and utilities, so the $112 million in cuts would slash programs. Those on the block include invasive species eradication in Yosemite, student education at Gettysburg, and comfort stations on the Natchez Trace Parkway in Mississippi.
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