House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., told David Gregory on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday that he thinks the sequester cuts, delayed by the fiscal cliff deal, are inevitable “because the Democrats have opposed our efforts to replace those cuts with others and they’ve offered no alternative.”
Ryan’s comments reinforced House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) insistence that the sequester – more than $100 billion of automatic, across the board cuts in defense and domestic programs this year -- would be the biggest point of leverage for Republicans to extract the cuts that they want. - Read more at The Hill
FEDERAL AGENCIES BRACING FOR CUTS Government agencies are spending a significant amount of time and resources planning for the looming threat of sequestration that are currently scheduled to kick in beginning March 1.
Offices have spent hours of overtime coming up with contingency plans. “First we were told not to develop plans” for sequestration, a senior Department of Homeland Security official told The Washington Post. “Then we spent seven days a week coming up with them and [the cuts] got postponed. Now we’re doing it all over with new targets. It’s taking away from what we need to get done.” Read more at The Washington Post
SENATE SANDY VOTE ON THE DOCKET The Senate is scheduled to vote today on $50.5 billion in relief for Hurricane Sandy victims devastated by the superstorm that tore into the Northeast nearly three months ago. The massive package passed the House two weeks ago, and is expected to pass the upper chamber by tonight. - Read more at USA Today
SENATE DEBT LIMIT VOTE Also up for consideration in the Senate on Wednesday is the House-passed measure to suspend the debt ceiling until May 18. The bill would not raise the debt ceiling but rather allow the Treasury to borrow whatever it needs to pay its bills until a new May deadline. After that, emergency measures could forestall crisis until August. (Sound familiar?) The bill, which overwhelmingly passed the House last week, is expected to cruise through the Senate and has already been given the nod of approval by President Obama. - Read more at Politico