House Republicans: Keep the sequester in place

posted at 10:01 am on January 18, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

A smart move, and one that House Republican leadership should adopt from its members:

GOP leaders on Thursday heard from rank-and-file members in a closed-door session, with many urging sequester cuts or a government shutdown to take effect in hopes of forcing the White House into accepting spending cuts.

Those options are “very much on the table,” veteran Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) told reporters on Thursday, from Virginia, where House GOP lawmakers are meeting for their annual retreat.

According to several sources, during the members-only brainstorming session, Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) delivered “concise” remarks before opening the microphones to member feedback.

Despite recent internal House GOP squabbles over the handling of the “fiscal cliff” negotiations and a handful of defections against Boehner in the vote for Speaker, GOP lawmakers are looking to present a unified front ahead of crucial budget battles.

There are three potential inflection points in the next two months on spending.  The first is the debt ceiling, which is poor ground for the GOP, as the spending Congress has already authorized requires Treasury to borrow funds to comply.  Denying a raise in the ceiling to at least the amount necessary for authorized spending amounts to a bad-faith effort to reopen the previous agreement, and it will be perceived that way especially as the media hyperventilates about default.

That leaves the sequester in late February and the expiration of the continuing resolution on March 27th, the government-shutdown option.  Republicans stand on the best ground on that point for demanding real spending cuts in the final half of the FY2013 budget and the new FY2014 budget.  However, if Republicans attempt to evade the sequester — which splits $1.2 trillion in cuts over ten years evenly between defense and domestic spending — they will undermine their case for a government-shutdown threat in March.  Those cuts are painful on both sides, butany significant cuts are going to be painful; if they weren’t, they would have already taken place.

This is why the Republicans will have better ground after the tax and debt-ceiling deadlines pass by.  Inaction in both of those cases favored Democrats (big tax hikes and a default scenario they could blame on Republican intransigence).  In contrast, inaction on the last two “cliffs” of the sequester favor the GOP — real spending cuts and a standoff on the real issue of spending. And in fact, House Republicans can pass a final FY2013 budget using normal order well before March 27th and simply state that they will not negotiate with the Senate except through a conference committee, demanding a normal-order budget from Harry Reid.  If he refuses, then it’s Democratic inaction that will produce the government shutdown.

Republicans are outnumbered in Washington power.  They have to look for the best ground on which to fight. This is a big step in the right direction.


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They really do need to go back to the regular budget process if for no other reason than to get that “stimulus” money out of the baseline.

Night Owl on January 18, 2013 at 10:08 AM

pussies

lm10001 on January 18, 2013 at 10:09 AM

rofl

equanimous on January 18, 2013 at 10:12 AM

The republicans don’t have the stomach to be called names, they will fold.

tim c on January 18, 2013 at 10:13 AM

They really do need to go back to the regular budget process if for no other reason than to get that “stimulus” money out of the baseline.

Night Owl on January 18, 2013 at 10:08 AM

The regular budget process won’t affect Porkulus money – that was deemed “mandatory” spending and thus is outside the scope of the regular budget process.

Steve Eggleston on January 18, 2013 at 10:15 AM

Pubs.=Dems. One and the same. Different name.

they lie on January 18, 2013 at 10:15 AM

I have total faith in “Cave Man” Boehner.

rrpjr on January 18, 2013 at 10:18 AM

GOP leaders on Thursday heard from rank-and-file members in a closed-door session, with many urging sequester cuts or a government shutdown to take effect in hopes of forcing the White House into accepting spending cuts

…what is a G O P leader?

KOOLAID2 on January 18, 2013 at 10:18 AM

butany significant cuts

Butany?

journeyscarab on January 18, 2013 at 10:20 AM

In all seriousness, the GOP should play the Schoolhouse Rock video “Bill on Capital Hill” and tell America this is what we want to happen on the 2014 FY Budget.

WashJeff on January 18, 2013 at 10:21 AM

Sandy II Electric Boogaloo. ROFL.

Mr. Arrogant on January 18, 2013 at 10:22 AM

Ed: First, an issue of diction. There is no FY2013 budget. You cannot refer to one.

Second, and more importantly, it’s already been Democratic inaction that has stopped the normal budget process for the last 4 years, and no one cares. Why should they care?

The GOP is reaping what they sowed when they first agreed to a continuing resolution for FY2010. After caving for FY2010, FY2011, FY2012, and FY2013, what standing do they have to insist that there be a budget for FY2014? ‘No budget’ has become the norm in Washington, and no one blinks an eye to it anymore. So, again, how is this going to change anything?

Scott H on January 18, 2013 at 10:24 AM

…what is a G O P leader?

KOOLAID2 on January 18, 2013 at 10:18 AM

I believe I read about them in the history books.

Mr. Arrogant on January 18, 2013 at 10:24 AM

In all seriousness, the GOP should play the Schoolhouse Rock video “Bill on Capital Hill” and tell America this is what we want to happen on the 2014 FY Budget.

WashJeff on January 18, 2013 at 10:21 AM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tyeJ55o3El0

gophergirl on January 18, 2013 at 10:24 AM

The regular budget process won’t affect Porkulus money – that was deemed “mandatory” spending and thus is outside the scope of the regular budget process.

Steve Eggleston on January 18, 2013 at 10:15 AM

Oh. I was under the impression that it was added to the 2009 budget and has been incorporated into every continuing resolution since then, which is how every year there is a trillion dollar deficit.

Night Owl on January 18, 2013 at 10:25 AM

…which is poor ground for the GOP…

Republicans will have better ground after the tax and debt-ceiling deadlines pass…

They have to look for the best ground on which to fight.

Ed, I don’t mean to be harsh but if a 3% cut in spending over ten years is a severe benchmark that is too difficult to handle NOW then the ground is not the best metaphor to use. Replace the word ground with optics and lets all dance around Gangnam Style until its over.

DanMan on January 18, 2013 at 10:26 AM

No budget, no spending limit.

Please tell me what the role of Congress is today?

Anyone?

BobMbx on January 18, 2013 at 10:27 AM

Boehner will get the RINO’s and Democrats to side with him and give Obama what he wants.

RADIOONE on January 18, 2013 at 10:27 AM

Scott H on January 18, 2013 at 10:24 AM

thank you

DanMan on January 18, 2013 at 10:29 AM

The need to set a series of 3 month debt ceilings to reign in spending, much as Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985 did.

J_Crater on January 18, 2013 at 10:29 AM

There are three potential inflection points in the next two months on spending. The first is the debt ceiling, which is poor ground for the GOP, as the spending Congress has already authorized requires Treasury to borrow funds to comply. Denying a raise in the ceiling to at least the amount necessary for authorized spending amounts to a bad-faith effort to reopen the previous agreement, and it will be perceived that way especially as the media hyperventilates about default.

Bull. Sh!t.

EM, if you help these bastards kick the can one inch further down the road, shame on you.

The media’s going to hyperventilate no matter what the GOP does, or when, on which issue, etc. You know this, dammit. Please, let us be rid of “wait, not *this* fight, but maybe *that* one that’s coming soon after *this* one… no wait, not *that* one either, but maybe…”

E. F*CKING. NUFF.

Midas on January 18, 2013 at 10:33 AM

I don’t know, Ed. According to polls, the majority of the Republican base disliked the fiscal cliff deal. GOP leaders are skating on thin ice as it is. Punting on the debt ceiling, and just depending on sequestration and CRs might be disastrous. Too many consecutive win for the dems, and they’ll smell the blood and keep attacking. IMO, its time to hold the line on the debt ceiling. Get minor concessions there, and then enlarge the demands with regard to sequestration and CRs. That might be the only winning strategy.

tommy71 on January 18, 2013 at 10:35 AM

Republicans are outnumbered in Washington power. They have to look for the best ground on which to fight. This is a big step in the right direction.

Ed, I’m sorry again, but this is simply f*cking pathetic. I’m queasy and disheartened just reading those words coming off of your keyboard.

“The best ground”? Really?

EVERY fight is the best fight. EVERY ground is the best ground. Or maybe you’ve been taking Paul Krugman to heart, and starting to believe there’s really not an existential threat staring us in the face at the moment? How much pressure are you under, or being paid, to write this milquetoast crap? WTF has happened to HotAir?

You fight EVERY fight, on EVERY ground, period, paragraph, end of statement. There are no other alternatives at this point; no waiting, no picking your battles which never seem to come, etc.

No. More.

Midas on January 18, 2013 at 10:38 AM

Midas on January 18, 2013 at 10:38 AM

In Vietnam, the US won every battle …

OldEnglish on January 18, 2013 at 10:41 AM

No discussion about anything including raising the debt ceiling or easing up on th sequester until the following conditions are in place. Also put a hold on all administration nominees until these conditions are met.

1. Dems come to the table to negotiate with real spending cuts to the entitlement programs. Yes, this will hurt the parasites who rely on Dems for everything since they are too lazy to work for themselves BUT I’m taking home less now that the payroll taxes have been raised, why shouldn’t these truly worthless people feel some pain too? At this point, Obama is claiming that Dems won’t even negotiate. I would hope that cooler heads prevail.

2. The Senate passes a budget. Dems are loathe to pass a budget because there will be real cuts that they get to avoid by simply running government under continuing resolutions. Make the Senate Dems own the budget.

Happy Nomad on January 18, 2013 at 10:53 AM

The Rs will fall back, see retreat, to the next big safe ground and then if they allow sequester to happen as is, the dems will cry about cuts to the military at a time when the terrorists are on the rise again. The msm will jump on board and the gop will cave again. Hey, things are tough all over. Germans are stealing fire wood to stay warm and Belgians are killing every one who doesn’t measure up to their standards of being viable. If we lose our guns, we could be measured the same way. Probably will be anyway when Ocare kicks in fully.

Kissmygrits on January 18, 2013 at 10:55 AM

House GOP: This is not the hill do die on, the next hill is … we promise.

Rinse, repeat.

toby11 on January 18, 2013 at 10:55 AM

The Republicans have nothing to loose by just digging their heels at every point and demanding spending cuts. The media is going to hyperventilate over anything that resembles sensible government regardless.

newpine on January 18, 2013 at 10:56 AM

Dead on accurate; the call to win every battle without consequences is wrong and without a strategy to win the war. Spending IS the problem, so make it the Dem’s problem. We know that it is the last thing they want to deal with.

Tater Salad on January 18, 2013 at 10:57 AM

Where I would have the biggest problem with the GOP is if they tried to alter or modify the sequester; let it just happen, no questions asked.

Tater Salad on January 18, 2013 at 10:59 AM

Tater: If spending is the problem, why do you advocate letting them do more of it?

Scott H on January 18, 2013 at 11:00 AM

I’ve noticed a pattern with the word strategy – it seems to definded as, “why we aren’t going to do the right thing.” If you think about it, this strategy is actually aimed at conservatives not the general public. It is to keep you placated and submissive. The repubs are never going to “do” anything – but they need you to think they are right on edge of launching a major offensive.

Panther on January 18, 2013 at 11:01 AM

Midas on January 18, 2013 at 10:38 AM

In Vietnam, the US won every battle …

OldEnglish on January 18, 2013 at 10:41 AM

Don’t know about that, but I suspect they fought every battle as if their very lives and freedom depended upon it, unlike the GOP. Is that your point?

Don L on January 18, 2013 at 11:01 AM

Tater: If spending is the problem, why do you advocate letting them do more of it?

Scott H on January 18, 2013 at 11:00 AM

Maybe it’s like promiscuity, if you keep doing more of it, it’s the best route to virginity?

Don L on January 18, 2013 at 11:03 AM

Oh great, John Cornyn just unequivocally declared that the debt ceiling will be raised. This is bad news. Caving here without a few concessions from the dems would completely demoralise the pub base.

tommy71 on January 18, 2013 at 11:04 AM

…Caving here without a few concessions from the dems would completely demoralise the pub base.

tommy71 on January 18, 2013 at 11:04 AM

That ship sailed a few years ago.

Mr. Arrogant on January 18, 2013 at 11:08 AM

That ship sailed a few years ago.

Mr. Arrogant on January 18, 2013 at 11:08 AM

Exactly. This story is written, this Party is over.

rrpjr on January 18, 2013 at 11:17 AM

Everything will be ok. FOX News has re-signed Karl Rove until 2016.

http://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/rove-fox-re-signsailes/2013/01/18/id/472030

Boy, I’m glad he’s back. /s

Mr. Arrogant on January 18, 2013 at 11:18 AM

demanding a normal-order budget from Harry Reid

That should give old Harry a heart attack. He’s been covering Obama’s RED INK for the last couple of years by not passing a budget.

GarandFan on January 18, 2013 at 11:18 AM

Don L on January 18, 2013 at 11:01 AM

No, the US lost the war. Winning every battle is of no use if the enemy is still intact. Choose the battle and the weapons that will conquer the enemy – without mercy.

The debt ceiling is going up – no point in providing fodder for the enemy by swimming against the tide.

The sequester, on the other hand, can be used to advantage – by stressing the equality of pain.

OldEnglish on January 18, 2013 at 11:20 AM

Don L: Dunno. At this point, the GOP has no political will (or, really, backing) to fight these battles, mainly (as I pointed out earlier) because they did not fight them before.

These behaviors are self-reinforcing, and I think that the GOP has already past the point where the behavior has become a habit.

Scott H on January 18, 2013 at 11:20 AM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tyeJ55o3El0

gophergirl on January 18, 2013 at 10:24 AM

I can see it now. Boehner and Cantor walk out to the podium (don’t say a word), TV in the back drop, play the “Bill on Capital Hill” video, say “this is our procedural plan for the 2014 FY budget,” and then walk away (end of press conference).

WashJeff on January 18, 2013 at 11:20 AM

OldEnglish: To whose advantage? The GOP has shown a remarkable lack of ability to act to the advantage of their constituents.

Face it. The GOP just want to regain/stay in power. They have chosen a different means to that end, but that is their end. Why should we be that means?

Scott H on January 18, 2013 at 11:22 AM

The GOP just want to regain/stay in power.
Scott H on January 18, 2013 at 11:22 AM

And that’s why they won’t.

rrpjr on January 18, 2013 at 11:25 AM

Scott H on January 18, 2013 at 11:22 AM

Agreed. I’m just suggesting that banzai attacks won’t win the war, but properly targeted attacks will.

Of course, the fly in the ointment goes by the name of politician.

OldEnglish on January 18, 2013 at 11:31 AM

Don L on January 18, 2013 at 11:01 AM

No, the US lost the war. Winning every battle is of no use if the enemy is still intact. Choose the battle and the weapons that will conquer the enemy – without mercy.

The debt ceiling is going up – no point in providing fodder for the enemy by swimming against the tide.

The sequester, on the other hand, can be used to advantage – by stressing the equality of pain.

OldEnglish on January 18, 2013 at 11:20 AM

My history tells me we only lost because we refused to fight at home–our entrenched lying media left–and so we capitulated. Doing it again will bring about better results?

Don L on January 18, 2013 at 11:40 AM

Don’t know about that, but I suspect they fought every battle as if their very lives and freedom depended upon it, unlike the GOP. Is that your point?

Don L on January 18, 2013 at 11:01 AM

He is talking about winning tactical victories but losing wars. See “Phyrric Victory” for context. We might get a small perhaps temporary spending cut for a short debt ceiling increase but if we lose the public support for 2014 you will lose the ultimate fiscal responsibility battle. The public supports reduced spending (at least until specific programs are mentioned) we can engender support on that ground. The public is not for shutting down government (altought I think that would not really be as bad as many think) or defaulting on the debt. If the GOP house passes a budget authorization and the Dem Senate does not, the government shutdown can at least theoretically be laid at the Senate Dems feet and used in the 2014/2016 campaigns.

KW64 on January 18, 2013 at 11:45 AM

Agreed. I’m just suggesting that banzai attacks won’t win the war, but properly targeted attacks will.

Of course, the fly in the ointment goes by the name of politician.

OldEnglish on January 18, 2013 at 11:31 AM

To continue your Vietnam analogy then… the US would’ve been better to not fight every battle tooth and nail, but would’ve done better to lose a few of them?

I see what you’re saying about winning decisively, so yeah, let’s do that. But why would you *plan* to *lose* any battles? How ’bout we win them all, including the decisive ones?

Question – which battles are the Dems choosing to ‘lose’ ‘strategically’? Seems to me they’re fighting to win in every circumstance, and guess what – they are, and they are winning the war as well.

Midas on January 18, 2013 at 11:52 AM

He is talking about winning tactical victories but losing wars. See “Phyrric Victory” for context.

KW64 on January 18, 2013 at 11:45 AM

Seems to me that’s precisely what is being suggested; “win that *next* tactical victory – but not this one”, and… hope that somehow by losing some we’ll win the war? If we let the spending continue out of control, give increases to the spendthrift’s credit card, then “win that *next* tactical victory” WILL be a ‘phyrric victory’ indeed.

Midas on January 18, 2013 at 11:56 AM

Doing it again will bring about better results?

Don L on January 18, 2013 at 11:40 AM

At home, the US gave in – without offering a targeted defense of the war. They capitulated, but I’m not suggesting that be the case with this (fiscal) war. On the contrary, the GOP should be honing in on those areas of expenditure where there is a chance of success, such as alternative energy, TSA, Obamacare, etc.

These measures would not, in any way, solve the debt problem, but it would show the way on a very long road to repair the destruction of the last century.

OldEnglish on January 18, 2013 at 11:58 AM

Question – which battles are the Dems choosing to ‘lose’ ‘strategically’? Seems to me they’re fighting to win in every circumstance, and guess what – they are, and they are winning the war as well.

Midas on January 18, 2013 at 11:52 AM

Exactly!

I bet if the GOP had been in the position the Dems were in with respect to the fiscal cliff, they would have found a way to bungle their advantage.

If the GOP is in the minority, they bemoan their lack of political power. If they are in the majority, they give excuses that their power is still not enough or that “independents” would be offended.

TheRightMan on January 18, 2013 at 12:01 PM

Midas on January 18, 2013 at 11:52 AM

Midas on January 18, 2013 at 11:56 AM

No, I’m suggesting that some battles be avoided/skirted, so that the important ones can better be fought – without carrying any negative messages from previous less important battles.

This has already happened, in that the GOP has been labelled, rightly or wrongly, as the Party of NO. They need to bury that.

OldEnglish on January 18, 2013 at 12:06 PM

Midas on January 18, 2013 at 11:52 AM

Incidentally, The big difference between Left and Right is that the Right prefers status quo, whereas the Left is not interested in winning the war – they want perpetual revolution (a la Trotsky).

OldEnglish on January 18, 2013 at 12:10 PM

Pubs.=Dems. One and the same. Different name.

they lie on January 18, 2013 at 10:15 AM

I disagree. There is a definite difference. Many of the Repubs would like to do the right thing but the “leadership” prevents them. Also, the laft have no morals and are fearless and ruthless in their nastiness. They are the ones in lockstep. The Repubs try to be “reasonable” instead of fighting back with the same vehemence and end up getting pushed around by the Dems with impunity and their complicit minions in the media have the public at large believing every negative thing they say about the Repubs. Looks like some of that rubbed off on you.

Big John on January 18, 2013 at 12:41 PM

sequestration is not a bad option right now. Obama has been bragging about reduced spending for some time,by claiming the money saved from the end of the Iraq war. We can do the same thing,take the hit on defense spending without impacting real combat readiness, and extract a round of domestic cuts at no cost to us.

so either start writing budgets, or we win on sequestration anyway.

The Schaef on January 18, 2013 at 5:51 PM