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The Hill: Sequester Is The Fight The GOP Wants

From The Hill:

Shutdown isn’t fight GOP wants

By Alexander Bolton | February 20, 2013

Republicans have decided that the sequester scheduled for March 1 — not a government-funding bill due at the end of March — is where they’ll make their stand on spending cuts.

After the bruising political battles of the last Congress, GOP leaders have decided the looming automatic spending cuts provide the best leverage to move President Obama to negotiate on costly entitlement programs.

“Republicans are not going to take a stand on a government shutdown. We’re not going to take a stand on the debt ceiling. We’re going to take a stand on the sequester,” said a Republican senator, who requested anonymity to discuss his party’s strategy.

“The sequester affects programs President Obama likes and we think it’s the best chance of getting his attention on spending,” the lawmaker added.

That is to say, the Republican leadership have decided against risking a ‘government shutdown’ at the end of March. So the sequester is their last best chance to cut any spending at all.

Unfortunately, there is still time for the Republicans to kick the can down the road. But let’s hope they mean it this time. But every Democrat and/or news media trick will be pulled out to try to make them say ‘uncle’ and raise taxes.

GOP leaders see the spending sequester as the political inverse of the fiscal cliff. Republicans felt they had little choice, at the end of 2012, but to agree to tax increases because if they did not compromise, all of the Bush-era tax rates would have expired.

Republican aides say the onus is now on Obama and the Democrats to give ground because if there is no deal, federal programs will see an $85 billion reduction between March 1 and the fiscal year’s end…

We don’t even see why they should want Obama to give ground. We have to begin ‘cutting’ somewhere. If not now, when? If not here, where?

A Senate GOP aide said Republicans will take the sequester before agreeing to any tax increases to offset the cost of stopping it.

“Is it designed the way you’d like it to be designed? No. Is it a guaranteed reduction of spending? It is, and we’ll take that,” said the aide.

Apparently, our brilliant young President miscalculated. Again.

A few Senate Republicans say they are willing to consider tax increases to pay for a package to stop sequestration from hitting…

Naturally.

“I would not support increases in income tax rates because we’ve already settled that issue. It sounds like it’s weighted way too heavily on the tax side given what we’ve already done,” said Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine).

Collins said she would support eliminating tax subsidies for major oil-and-gas companies.

Susan Collins is not a Republican in any meaningful sense of the word. Also, there are not tax subsidies for oil and gas companies. They pay the same tax rate as other businesses that deal in finite resources.

But altogether, a senior GOP aide said, the total number of Senate Republicans willing to support tax increases to pay for the sequester “is probably a population under five.” …

The usual five suspects.

Boehner told The Wall Street Journal in an interview last month that the sequester would give Republicans a stronger card to play against Obama in negotiations on entitlement program spending, a major driver of the federal deficit.

Boehner said the suspension of the debt limit, which is set to expire on May 19, is “one point of leverage” but “not the ultimate leverage.” …

So the Republicans are now at the point of ‘ultimate leverage.’ Let’s see them use it for once.

After all, all they have to do is sit on their hands and ‘just say no.’

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Wednesday, February 20th, 2013. Comments are currently closed.

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