Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee rose Thursday to share his thoughts on sequestration as the Senior Chamber mulls alternatives to the across-the-board cuts set to go into effect Friday, March 1. Calling the cuts “ham-handed”, Senator Corker said, “The only thing worse than sequestration would be kicking the can down the road.” He is, of course, referring to the rampant and unchecked spending that threatens our nation’s economic future.
Saying “sequester will kick in tomorrow”, Corker spells out a reality that most in the political world have already begun to come to terms with. The President and both Houses of Congress will accept wide-sweeping cuts across government rather than striking a deal for more managed and responsible spending cuts.
Corker was quick to accept blame for his Chamber’s role in the current fiasco. “The reason we are here today is because this Body has not come to terms with the fact that we have to reform entitlements for them to be here for future generations and certainly for people who are about to retire.” While he really means “Democrats have not come to terms”; the point is made. The Senate has once again failed to act.
“So we’re going through this pain again due to lack of courage in the United States Senate to address the real issues of the day.”
I can’t say that I’m entirely against the notion of an across-the-board set of cuts; that is, considering the alternative – doing nothing. And since these cuts will come as a result of the President, the Senate, and the House doing absolutely nothing, I’d consider this a match made in Heaven. And because I wholeheartedly reject the idea of ceding Legislative power to the Executive Branch to fix this mess, I see no other solution given the stalemate in Congress.
Like many hard-line conservatives, I tend to disagree with Senator Corker from time-to-time. Vesting the president with new and unilateral power happens to be one of them. The irony, however, is that I sincerely believe that he is among a small handful of senators and congressman that actually wanted a deal to get done before we came to this point.
While I believe there is a time for holding one’s ground and standing on principle, I simply do not believe this was that fight. Had Republicans taken a deal six months or a year ago, we would have been talking about 3:1 spending cuts to tax increases. Now we’re talking about 1:1 or the status quo and 1.
As a proud Republican, it pains me to admit when my side comes down on the losing side of the political debate. All things considered, this is surely a Republican defeat. But seeing how this genius piece of strategy has played out, I’m not sure anyone can claim a victory worth having.