By Steve Benen – Fri May 3, 2013 4:05 PM EDT
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) hosted a town-hall meeting in his district this week, and heard from a constituent who works for the Environmental Protection Agency. Racine resident David Novak explained that, thanks to the sequestration cuts, he’s lost thousands of dollars in income for no reason, and he’s set to lose even more.
The constituent wanted an explanation. Ryan tried to give him one.
“This was is something the president has done through the Budget Control Act. We didn’t like it so we passed two bills to replace it. Twice. I passed a bill twice. I passed a bill in December that said instead of doing the sequester, here’s how the government should cut to pay for it. They rejected it.
“Then this last March we passed a bill funding the government and giving the executive branch the authority and flexibility on top to implement the sequester. The EPA chose to implement it this way to affect you as you described.”
Now, I can’t say with certainty whether Ryan deliberately lied to his constituent, or whether the man with the worst memory in American politics simply couldn’t recall the truth well enough to given an honest answer.
Either way, I hope the voters at the town-hall meeting weren’t fooled. President Obama didn’t want the sequester; Paul Ryan did. In fact, Ryan might not remember this, but he bragged about securing the sequestration cuts at the time. A politician can take credit for a policy or he blame someone else for it, but when he does both, there’s a problem.
And what about the other claims? House Republicans passed two sham bills — before this Congress — to replace the sequester, but they weren’t serious attempts at policymaking and were not intended to become law. The bill in March didn’t solve anything and wasn’t a credible response to Democratic efforts to find a compromise. And to blame the EPA for the budget cuts Congress imposed on the EPA is pretty silly.
Oh, and Ryan also neglected to mention to the EPA employee that the Ryan budget plan guts the EPA. Maybe the congressman forgot?
It would be consistent with the Wisconsin Republican’s m.o.
Ryan doesn’t remember the spending cuts in the Budget Control Act.
Ryan doesn’t remember that he used to refer to his own plan to end Medicare as “vouchers.”
Ryan doesn’t remember taking credit for the sequestration policy he later condemned.
Ryan doesn’t remember learning about Democratic alternatives to the sequester.
Ryan doesn’t remember what happened with the 2011 “super committee.”
Ryan doesn’t remember Bill Clinton’s tax increases.
Ryan doesn’t remember the times he condemned social-insurance programs as “taker” programs.
Ryan doesn’t remember all of the times he appealed to the Obama administration for stimulus funds for his congressional district.
Ryan doesn’t remember his marathon times.
Ryan doesn’t remember how much he was inspired by Ayn Rand.
Ryan doesn’t remember his own speeches.
Everyone can be forgetful once in a while, but the Republican Budget Committee chairman seems to forget rather important details and developments so often, it’s unsettling.
Unless, of course, his memory is fine and Ryan is simply trying to mislead the public. That couldn’t be, could it?