Va. Republicans: Obama using sequestration to force tax increases

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Bolling said the president is trying to use the threat of the $500 billion in sequestered defense cuts, which Pentagon officials warn would “hollow out” the armed forces, to strong-arm Republicans into backing higher taxes. 

“Why do they continue to reject proposals to come up with a more responsible approach? I think it’s pretty clear why,” said Rep. Randy Forbes (R-Va.) on the conference call with reporters. “When President Obama was in Norfolk back on July the 15th, he made pretty clear that he was using the threat of devastating cuts in the nation’s defense to, in effect, blackmail Republicans into voting for higher taxes. 

"The president’s playing a high-stakes game of Russian roulette that threatens Virginia’s economy and the nation’s ability to defend itself.”

Norfolk, Va., is home to many businesses in the defense industry, and the Norfolk Naval Shipyard, the largest industrial facility owned and operated by the U.S. Navy, is located in nearby Portsmouth. The Norfolk Department of Development website estimates that the total economic impact of the military and defense industry on the region was $13.5 billion in fiscal year 2010. 

Forbes said the president is not handling the sequestration cuts in good faith.

“The [budget] director testified before the Senate on February the 14th,” Forbes said. “And he said this: the president wants sequester. The president wants to use it as a forcing mechanism ... and yesterday, the OMB Director made it clear before the Armed Services Committee why: so he can raise taxes on the American people.”