Get ready for the sequester cuts

The prospects for a deal to prevent the harsh automatic budget cuts look increasingly grim

Topics: Sequestration, Budget Showdown, Budget cuts, Republicans, Barack Obama,

Friday is the deadline for Congress to reach a deal to prevent the sequester from going into effect, which would mean $85 billion in automatic, Draconian spending cuts. Things are not looking good.

Both Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., will likely hold votes before Wednesday on the Democrat and Republican plans to prevent the sequester, respectively. But both measures are expected to fail.

From the Washington Post:

The Democratic plan would delay the sequester until January, replacing the across-the-board cuts with a mix of $110 billion worth of new tax revenue and more-narrowly tailored spending cuts. It includes $54 billion in revenue by ensuring that most millionaires pay at least 30 percent of their income to the Internal Revenue Service — something that prompted McConnell to dismiss it immediately as a tax that could not pass.

The GOP plan is still being crafted. Officials said Sunday it might include a provision that would leave the sequester in place but allow more flexibility for agency leaders in imposing the cuts.

On the House side, the New York Times reports that the split within the House Republican caucus is definitely not helping the matter:

With so many rank-and-file Republicans adamant that they would rather see the cuts stand than raise any taxes, Speaker John A. Boehner finds himself in a bind. Three times this year — on the tax deal to resolve the fiscal cliff, on a measure to suspend the debt ceiling and on a package of Hurricane Sandy relief — he has let legislation pass the House against the votes of a majority of Republicans. In 2011, Republicans accepted caps on military spending as well.

Each time, the speaker has promised to stand his ground on the next showdown with the president. That showdown comes this week.



On Sunday night, the Obama administration released a state-by-state breakdown of the impact of the cuts, and which federal programs would be slashed the most should they go into effect. Among the funding facing the harshest cuts is for teachers and schools, military readiness, funding for victims of domestic abuse, grants to states for law enforcement and crime prevention, public health and protection for clean air and clean water.

A spokesman for Boehner responded to the report: “Republicans in the House have voted — twice — to replace President Obama’s sequester with smarter spending cuts. The White House needs to spend less time explaining to the press how bad the sequester will be and more time actually working to stop it.”

But, as the Wall Street Journal reports, lawmakers are quietly shifting their focus from preventing the sequester cuts to another budget deadline: March 27, when funding for government operations will run out and a government shutdown will ensue:

Senior aides to House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) have begun discussing a bill being prepared by House Republicans to fund government operations through September. Republicans want the bill to extend operating funds at the lower levels set to kick in Friday and to give more flexibility to the Pentagon to manage its cuts.

Jillian Rayfield is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on politics. Follow her on Twitter at @jillrayfield or email her at jrayfield@salon.com.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 17
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    John Stanmeyer

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Container City: Shipping containers, indispensable tool of the globalized consumer economy, reflect the skyline in Singapore, one of the world’s busiest ports.

    Lu Guang

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Man Covering His Mouth: A shepherd by the Yellow River cannot stand the smell, Inner Mongolia, China

    Carolyn Cole/LATimes

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Angry Crowd: People jostle for food relief distribution following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti

    Darin Oswald/Idaho Statesman

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    “Black Friday” Shoppers: Aggressive bargain hunters push through the front doors of the Boise Towne Square mall as they are opened at 1 a.m. Friday, Nov. 24, 2007, Boise, Idaho, USA

    Google Earth/NOAA, U.S. Navy, NGA, GEBCO

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Suburban Sprawl: aerial view of landscape outside Miami, Florida, shows 13 golf courses amongst track homes on the edge of the Everglades.

    Garth Lentz

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Toxic Landscape: Aerial view of the tar sands region, where mining operations and tailings ponds are so vast they can be seen from outer space; Alberta, Canada

    Cotton Coulson/Keenpress

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Ice Waterfall: In both the Arctic and Antarctic regions, ice is retreating. Melting water on icecap, North East Land, Svalbard, Norway

    Yann Arthus-Bertrand

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Satellite Dishes: The rooftops of Aleppo, Syria, one of the world’s oldest cities, are covered with satellite dishes, linking residents to a globalized consumer culture.

    Stephanie Sinclair

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Child Brides: Tahani, 8, is seen with her husband Majed, 27, and her former classmate Ghada, 8, and her husband in Hajjah, Yemen, July 26, 2010.

    Mike Hedge

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Megalopolis: Shanghai, China, a sprawling megacity of 24 Million

    Google Earth/ 2014 Digital Globe

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Big Hole: The Mir Mine in Russia is the world’s largest diamond mine.

    Daniel Dancer

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Clear-cut: Industrial forestry degrading public lands, Willamette National Forest, Oregon

    Peter Essick

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Computer Dump: Massive quantities of waste from obsolete computers and other electronics are typically shipped to the developing world for sorting and/or disposal. Photo from Accra, Ghana.

    Daniel Beltra

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Oil Spill Fire: Aerial view of an oil fire following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil disaster, Gulf of Mexico

    Ian Wylie

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Slide 13

    Airplane Contrails: Globalized transportation networks, especially commercial aviation, are a major contributor of air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Photo of contrails in the west London sky over the River Thames, London, England.

    R.J. Sangosti/Denver Post

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Fire: More frequent and more intense wildfires (such as this one in Colorado, USA) are another consequence of a warming planet.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>