During last night’s presidential debate, President Obama claimed, “First of all, the sequester is not something that I’ve proposed. It is something that Congress has proposed.”
But here is what Bob Woodward reported on page 326 of his book, The Price of Politics:
At 2:30 p.m. [White House Office of Management Director Jack] Lew and [White House Director of legislative affairs Rob] Nabors went to the Senate to meet with [Senate Majority Leader Harry] Reid and his chief of staff, David Krone.
“We have an idea for the trigger,” Lew said.
“What’s the idea?” Reid asked skeptically.
Reid bent down and put his head between his knees, almost as if he were going to throw up or was having a heart attack. he sat back up and looked at the ceiling. “A couple of weeks ago,” he said, “my staff said to me that there is one more possible” enforcement mechanism: sequestration. He said he told them, “get the hell out of here. That’s insane. The White House surely will come up with a plan that will save the day. And you come to me with sequestration?”
Well it could work, Lew and Nabors explained.
What would the impact be?
They would design it so that half the threatened cuts would be from the Defense Department.
Later on pager 339 Woodward adds:
Lew, Nabors, [White House National Economic Council Director Gene] Sperling, and Bruce Reed, Biden’s chief of staff, had finally decided to propose using language from the 1985 Gramm-Rudman-Hollings deficit reduction law as the model for the trigger. It seemed tough enough to apply to the current situation. It would require a sequester with half the cuts from Defense, and the other half from domestic programs. There would be no chance the Republicans woul want to pull the trigger and allow the sequester to force massive cuts to Defense.