Scott says Obama to blame for pending budget cutsby John Kennedy | February 27th, 2013
Gov. Rick Scott lashed out Wednesday at President Obama, saying it is up to the White House to resolve the congressional deadlock over looming budget cuts that could slash millions of dollars from Florida’s economy.
A week ago, Scott antagonized many supporters within his own Republican Party for embracing Medicaid expansion, which Obama envisioned as a key component of the Affordable Care Act. But Scott this week has been apparently trying to bolster his conservative bonafides – with the budget cuts called sequestration emerging as his latest platform.
“If your administration fails to do its job to responsibly managed the budget, thousands of Floridians will lose their jobs under sequestration,” Scott said Wednesday in a letter to the president. The italics are Scott’s own.
“There is no doubt that budget cuts must be made at the national level, just as we do here at the state level,” Scott added. “But it is the responsibility of the administration to administer spending reductions responsibly. Instead of cutting with a scalpel, your sequestration process is a meat cleaver.”
In 2011, as part of a last-minute agreement to avoid defaulting on the nation’s debt for the first time, Congress and the White House formed a bipartisan committee to develop a comprehensive plan to cut how much money the nation owes.
The deal included a clause that essentially said that if that committee could not reach a deal, the government would face $85 billion in arbitrary and painful cuts to both domestic and defense programs this year.
The White House has said that if another budget deal is not reached by Friday, about 750 teachers and aides could be laid off in Florida; 31,000 Department of Defense workers would be furloughed; 1,600 children would lose their place in day care; and thousands fewer will receive vaccinations.
Airport delays linked to a reduction in federal personnel also is forecast as hitting the Sunshine State hard.
White House officials said Wednesday that Obama has invited congressional leadership to a meeting Friday, after the cuts have gone into effect. The tactic suggests the administration does not expect much action from a deadlocked Congress before then.
Scott has been under fire within conservative ranks after dropping his long opposition to Medicaid expansion. But Wednesday’s letter prodding Obama comes only a day after Scott lashed out when a federal appeals court upheld a lower court ban on a 2011 law requiring drug-testing of state welfare recipients.
Losing for a second time in court only seemed to raise Scott’s conservative hackles. After the ruling, Scott said Tuesday he he intends to take the fight to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Here is Scott’s letter to: President Obama