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Libertarian senators: Give Obama the flexibility

4 Mar




While some Republicans are wary of giving 
President Obama the flexibility to implement sequestration
 at his discretion, two of the most libertarian senators in the 
party agree that Congress should make him allocate the 
spending cuts more efficiently than current law requires.
“Allowing the president the flexibility to move money 
around? I think it’s a good idea,” Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., 
told The Washington Examiner after the Republican 
Steering Committee debated the issue during a 
members-only meeting in the Capitol. “The thing 
is, I think he’s using scare tactics and emotionalism 
and really he needs to make some wise decisions. 
We need to give him the power to not make those 
decisions.”
Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., agreed. “It’s really the 
president’s job to manage [sequestration],” Johnson, 
who describes himself as an Ayn Rand Republican, 
said in an interview after the GOP  meeting. “[T]o 
manage it efficiently, effectively, to create as little 
disruption [with] the least amount of pain as opposed 
to the approach he’s taken, [with] the maximum 
amount of pain.”

The Examiner reported last week that Senate 
Republicans were mulling the proposal, but the 
House is concerned about giving such authority to Obama.

“We don’t want to cede any type of authority to 
the administration in terms of how the sequester is 
applied,” said one GOP aide  familiar with leadership 
conversations said in an interview. “There’s no 
precedent [to make us think] that he’s going to do it 
responsibly.”
Johnson said that the flexibility proposal puts Obama 
in a political bind. “What could be more reasonable?” 
he asked. “Hey, listen, you’re the manager; you’re the 
CEO; you’re the executive; you ran for president. 
Congress establishes the spending limitations. He signed 
it. He signed the bill into law. Now it’s up to him to 
manage it efficiently and effectively and we’re trying 
to give him the maximum flexibility to do that.”
Paul said that Obama doesn’t want the flexibility 
proposal to pass “because he wants to use it as a 
campaign issue; he doesn’t know how to stop campaigning.”
Obama attacked the proposal at a campaign-style rally 
yesterday. “You don’t want to have to choose between, 
let’s see, do I close funding for the disabled kid, or the 
poor kid?” the president told Virginians.  “Do I close this
 Navy shipyard or some other one?  When you’re doing 
things in a way that’s not smart, you can’t gloss over the 
pain and the impact it’s going to have on the economy.”