ABC News’ Jonathan Karl confronted Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., Sunday over his insistence that President Barack Obama is solely responsible for the looming budget sequester, reminding him that he once supported the idea of across-the-board budget cuts.
During an appearance on “This Week,” Ryan, the House Budget Committee chairman and 2012 vice presidential candidate, argued that Obama “proposed the sequester” without providing any details about how to make it work, making him the culprit for the $85 billion in budget cuts set to take effect on March 1.
“We are here because the president back in the last session of Congress refused to cut spending in any place, and therefore we would up with the sequester,” Ryan said.
But, as pointed out by Karl, Ryan urged his fellow Republicans to vote for the sequester during the debt ceiling crisis in the summer of 2011.
“You said, ‘What conservatives like me have been fighting for for years are statutory caps on spending, literally legal caps in law that say government agencies cannot spend over a set amount of money, and if they breach that amount across the board sequester comes in to cut that spending. You can’t turn it out without a supermajority. So we got into that law,” Karl said, quoting Ryan after the law was passed.
During the 2011 debt ceiling fight, Republicans demanded spending cuts to offset a debt ceiling increase, and refused to consider new revenue as a means of reducing that debt.
That standoff led to the Budget Control Act of 2011, which included spending caps and enormous cuts as a way to motivate a bipartisan “Super Committee” to find $1.2 trillion in spending cuts. It was only after that committee failed to come to a resolution that Ryan – who, at this point, was Mitt Romney’s vice presidential nominee – railed against the huge military cuts included in the sequester.