Sequester:Will Reality Bite?

Sequester:Will Reality Bite?

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Barring some sort of bipartisan, absurdly low-probability miracle at the White House meeting today and a slew of last-minute flights, the sequester cuts will take effect at midnight. The president and congressional leaders will meet at 10 a.m. for an apparent last-ditch attempt to avoid the cuts. But the meeting seems to be more of a show than a shot at a solution, since Congress already left town for the weekend and House Speaker John Boehner made it clear last night that he is done negotiating with the president Boehner refuses to budge in his opposition to the tax increases that Democrats would have replace some of the sequester, saying it’s a matter of “how much more money do we want to steal from the American people to fund more government.”   -   Read more at   The New York Times

  BUT IT’S NOT OVER YET    There is still time for President Obama to defuse the sequester cuts before midnight. He could simply not sign the authorization as required by law.  The Fiscal Times’  David Francis explains the four different courses of action that lawmakers could take  here

DON’T WORRY—THIS NEVER HAPPENS     Well, almost never. According to a new study by the Bipartisan Policy Center, policymakers have rarely allowed sequesters to be fully implemented, and instead they usually defuse them within a few weeks. -  See the study  here

W HY LAWMAKERS WILL LET THE SEQUESTER HAPPEN      Though the sequester will no doubt hurt many soon-to-be furloughed government workers, it’s not bad news for lawmakers in Washington, who will walk away from the sequester “showdown” with an upper-hand in the next fiscal fight. The Fiscal Times’ Eric Pianin and Josh Boak have the list of sequestration winners and losers  here

WAIT…WHAT IS THE SEQUESTER AGAIN?    Only 57 percent of Americans have even heard of the sequester cuts. Apparently, the president’s campaign-style efforts to publicize sequestration didn’t do the trick. -  See the results  here

OMB INSTRUCTS AGENCIES HOW TO DEAL WITH CUTS    The Office of Management and Budget released a new memo to government agencies on Thursday detailing how to best prepare for the sequester cuts. The memo says OMB now estimates a 9 percent cut to affected domestic agency budgets and a 13 percent cut to defense. It also makes clear that the White House is giving agencies leeway in implementing the cuts, suggesting that agencies restrict hiring, and cut back on employee bonuses and travel to meet the budget goals. -  Read more at  The Hill

ON THE DOCKET: LOOMING GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN     Lawmakers are already turning their attention to the next crisis, the possibility of a government shutdown on March 27 when the continuing resolution, which is currently funding the government, expires.   -   Read more at   Politico



Brianna Ehley is the former Washington Correspondent for The Fiscal Times. She is currently a reporter on Politico's health care team in Washington, D.C.