GOP Sending Mixed Signals On Sequester : It's All Politics The House speaker wants senators to act. The top Senate Republican says it's time to work on a compromise. And the Republican National Committee says the cuts would be "negligible compared to Obama's disastrous fiscal record."
NPR logo GOP Sending Mixed Signals On Sequester

GOP Sending Mixed Signals On Sequester

The various Republican messaging machines may want to consider getting on the same page regarding the March 1 sequestration deadline.

Just as House Speaker John Boehner was urging the Senate to get "off their ass" and pass a bill dealing with the automatic spending cuts — and just before Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said it was time for Democrats to work with Republicans and find a compromise — the Republican National Committee blasted out a press release that seemed to suggest the sequester was actually too small.

The boldface headline: "$85 Billion Is Negligible Compared To Obama's Disastrous Fiscal Record." Below that was a list of budget numbers (like the $16 trillion national debt) that dwarf the $85 billion scheduled to be cut this year.

All of this, don't forget, follows a couple of weeks of trying to blame the sequester on the White House (see: #Obamaquester) for coming up with it back in 2011 as a way to avert a debt-ceiling crisis.

If Republicans are wondering why President Obama continues to enjoy stronger polling on the issue, perhaps their mixed messages on it might be one reason why.

S.V. Dáte is the congressional editor on NPR's Washington Desk.