COMMENTARY | You know the joke about how one tells someone is lying? Just see if their lips are moving? Well, of all the lying politicians in Washington, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., just might be the worst of them all. Why, just Thursday (Feb. 28) Ryan went on CNBC’s Squawk Box and openly lied about the sequester, blaming the mandatory trillion-dollar spending cuts scheduled to take place on March 1 on the inaction of the Senate.
“As you know,” Ryan said, “the sequester was designed to force action to deal with the deficit and debt. We passed a bill 300 days ago to deal with this. As recently as December the Senate still hasn’t done anything. So I do expect the sequester to take effect, because the Senate hasn’t acted, the president is around the country campaigning instead of governing. So I think what you’ll see happen next week is we will pass an appropriations Measure that gives the administration more flexibility.”
But as many Americans know, this is not true. Ryan can blame the Senate all he wishes, but it was the responsibility of the House to formulate and push through legislation to alter or rescind the sequestration. The sequestration was enacted by the previous Congress, which means any replacement or altered sequestration legislation falls to the sitting Congress to propose and pass on to the Senate for approval. The House, by constitutional authority, is the originator of bills having to do with the “power of the purse” in the federal government.
At the last minute, it would appear that Ryan is attempting to redirect or spread the blame for the sequestration taking place. Since one a Pew Research Center/USA Today poll revealed that most Republicans agree with the compromise settlement proposed by Democrats and the White House (56 percent). The same poll revealed that Republicans would be blamed if the sequestration took place. So it stands to reason that Ryan would like to see the Democratic-controlled Senate take the blame.
He also takes a swipe at the president, who many Republicans have tried to blame for the sequestration idea. However, that idea was first offered by Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Ga., in 2010. It was an idea that has been promoted heavily by Paul Ryan himself since 2004. But it wasn’t until the negative backlash began when the sequester seemed inevitable and even acceptable by many Republicans that the GOP made a concerted effort to blame President Obama for the sequester.
And there’s one thing more: A replacement bill of compromise which follows the guidelines supported by Obama (not to mention a majority of Americans) has been proposed by Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md. However, according to a statement issued by the congressman, the bill has never reached the House floor for a vote after three attempts because Speaker Boehner has refused to allow it.
There doesn’t seem to be any way around it: Paul Ryan is a never-ending lie generator. There have been politicians that misdirect, mislead, omit, and equivocate throughout American history — and quite a few of the transgressors are currently members of Congress — but not one seems to be as quick to boldly lie as the failed vice presidential candidate from Wisconsin.
In fact, he was called out for doing just that at the Republican National Convention back in August during his vice presidential acceptance speech. Several times. And by conservative-advocating Fox News, no less.
Word to the wise, Republicans: Paul Ryan’s lips are moving — a lot. And this guy is one of the leading contenders for the Republican nomination in 2016? With his propensity toward gravitating toward outright lying, the American people should hope he sits out the Wisconsin congressional election in 2014 as well.