As Sequestration Approaches, Negotiations Could Break Out
Despite recent claims by senior leaders of both parties that sequestration likely will go forward this year, there still are plenty of Republican and Democrat lawmakers who would like to avoid the $85 billion in government-wide spending reductions scheduled to go into effect March 1.
Of course the dispute over whether a package to replace the cuts will include increases in tax revenue, or be composed entirely of alternate spending reductions, is the primary obstacle to a bipartisan deal.
Some rank-and-file Republicans would embrace the automatic cuts, for instance, but Republican leadership favors finding a way to circumvent them, reports Politico. Party leaders have drafted a list of 10 different sets of spending cuts that would be sufficient to undo the sequester, but aides privately have conceded they would accept the elimination of some tax loopholes to strike an agreement with Democrats, according to Politico.
With less than a month before sequestration kicks in, negotiations between the White House and congressional leaders still have not commenced, and neither side has made any public concessions. On Thursday, President Obama reiterated his stance that he will not agree to a deal that does not include tax increases.
Obama told a gathering of House Democrats that he is “prepared, eager and anxious” to pursue the fight for a balanced fiscal package “in the court of public opinion.”