Get used to sequestration. It’s going to be around for at least a few weeks. But rest assured it’s “not going to be an apocalypse,” President Obama told reporters Friday after emerging from an unsuccessful meeting with Congressional leadership.
The president, who has spent the last week warning the public how devastating sequestration could be, dialed back its impact today, just hours before the $85 billion automatic spending cuts take effect.
The failure to reach a deal isn’t a surprise to anyone. Republican leaders went into the Friday meeting with no intentions of caving to the president’s demands to accompany any spending cuts with tax increases. Likewise, the president made clear he wouldn’t budge from his demands.
Now, Obama will sign an order before midnight that triggers the spending reductions, and then Washington will pivot to the next fiscal crisis – the continuing resolution. - Read more at The Fiscal Times
NO LOOMING GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN? One positive development that came out of Friday’s meeting was a pledge from both Obama and Republicans to stave off a government shutdown in March, when the continuing resolution expires, by keeping the government operating at the lower levels of the sequester. This means there might not be a big showdown over another government shutdown…stay tuned. - Read more at The New York Times
VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN ACT VICTORY CUT SHORT Celebrations for the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act may be cut short by the sequestration cuts, which will reduce funding for the programs that have been reauthorized through the bill. According to an analysis conducted by Sen. Tom Harkin, the sequester will mean 112,190 fewer victims would have access to domestic violence programs and shelters, approximately 64,000 fewer victims would have assistance in obtaining protection orders, crisis intervention and counseling, sexual assault services, hospital based advocacy, transitional housing services, and help with civil legal matters. - Read more at The Washington Post
THE ECONOMY WINS AGAIN The economy is still the most important issue to most people across the world, according to a survey conducted over 17 years by International Social Survey Programme. The economy was the greatest concern in 15 countries, followed by health care in eight, education in six, poverty in two and terrorism and crime in one. And despite the growing interest and concern in the United States, immigration and environment issues didn’t make the top of the list in any country over the survey’s 17-year period. - See the survey here