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Ryan defends vote for sequestration deal

GOP vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on Sunday defended his vote for the Budget Control Act (BCA) that set sequestration in motion, even as Mitt Romney called it a “big mistake” for Republican leaders to accept the deal.

The sequestration cuts of $109 billion in 2013, including $55 billion to defense, were agreed to in the 2011 Budget Control Act that raised the debt ceiling. The cuts became law after the supercommittee failed to reach a deal on deficit reduction, and will go into effect Jan. 2.

The Romney campaign and Republicans have blamed Obama for sequestration, but a majority of Republicans, including Ryan, voted for it.

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On CBS’s “Face the Nation” Sunday, Ryan argued that his vote for the BCA was not a vote for the defense cuts under sequestration, but rather a “down payment” on deficit reduction.

“The goal was never that these defense cuts actually occur,” Ryan said.

Ryan said that the House Republicans have already passed a bill that he authored to reverse the sequester for 2013. 

“We passed in the House a bill by cutting spending elsewhere. The Senate does nothing,” he said.

But on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Romney said it was a big mistake for Ryan and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to accept the deal.

“I thought it was a mistake on the part of the White House to propose it. I think it was a mistake for Republicans to go along with it,” Romney said.

Ryan again placed the blame for the sequester on the White House, accusing Obama of “putting politics ahead of national security” after a new book by Bob Woodward said that the idea for sequestration originated in the White House.


Obama campaign spokeswoman Lis Smith said Romney and Ryan had “tripped over their answer” and contradicted each other over sequestration.  

“The fact remains that we could prevent the automatic defense cuts if Congressional Republicans drop their refusal to ask for another dime from millionaires and billionaires,” she said in a statement.

This story was updated at 12:08 p.m.