Remember late last year how President Obama and hordes of Republicans warned that sequestration could not happen?
Whoops. Sequestration is going to happen. At least, that’s the growing consensus among many of those same lawmakers in Washington.
The massive, automatic spending cuts slated to slash defense and domestic budgets were postponed earlier this month when Congress cut an eleventh hour fiscal cliff deal. Now lawmakers have until March 1 to hash out an alternative, but many members of Congress aren’t counting on any success.
The Washington Post’s Lori Montgomery reports “an array of proposals are in the works to delay or replace the cuts. But party leaders say they see no clear path to compromise, particularly given a growing sentiment among Republicans to pocket the cuts and move on to larger battles over health and retirement spending.” - Read more at The Washington Post
IS NATIONAL SECURITY REALLY AT RISK? That’s the claim bouncing around the Pentagon and Capitol Hill about the sequestration cuts. But The Fiscal Times’ David Francis reports that many experts have roundly dismissed the claim, saying that the trimmed-down Pentagon is better equipped to deal with current global challenges. “It’s hard to see what enemies are going to jump down our throat because of an 8 percent decrease in spending,” added Benjamin Friedman, a research fellow at the Cato Institute. “We have a vast advantage over all our military adversaries. This isn’t the end of the world.” Read more at The Fiscal Times
FEDERAL-UNIONS WORRY ABOUT PAY FREEZES It’s unseasonably warn in Washington, but federal workers have chilly feelings about their salaries. Their unions plan to plead lawmakers to reach a compromise and spare the massive sequester cuts that would likely be accompanied by furloughs, pay freezes and layoffs. The National Treasury Employees Union and the American Federation of Government Employees told The Washington Post they expect hundreds of their members to flock to Capitol Hill to lobby members of Congress in February. - Read more at The Washington Post
DEBT CEILING VOTE WATCH The Senate is expected to vote today to suspend the debt ceiling until May 18, under a measure overwhelmingly passed by the House last week. The Fiscal Times’ has a guide to the House-passed debt ceiling plan here ...And if you want to learn more about the debt ceiling, but prefer it be explained behind the backdrop of smooth jazz, Jimmy Fallon teamed up with NBC’s Brian Williams to explain the debt ceiling debate-slow jam style here...