Well, well, well. Sometimes a short-term budget fix looks pretty darned good. Barack Obama, who had earlier criticized Republicans for offering a short-term fix for the debt ceiling, now wants a short-term fix for the sequester:
APNewsAlert WASHINGTON (AP) – AP source: Obama to ask for short-term budget fix to delayacross-the-board automatic cuts.
— Mike Allen (@mikeallen) February 5, 2013
So far, we’re not seeing any details, but David Freddoso believes this shows “Maneuver X” is working:
Maneuver X seems to be working: AP says Obama wants to delay the sequester.
— David Freddoso (@freddoso) February 5, 2013
Philip Klein explained this strategy three weeks ago:
Consider, then, “Maneuver X.” As modified to fit the current political environment, it would mean that Republicans remove all pressure. They should give Obama his debt limit increases without preconditions, and they shouldn’t allow any government shutdowns.
Meanwhile, Republicans should use their majority in the House to pass bills that actually do address the nation’s problems — its economic stagnation, rising energy and health care costs, mounting debt and so on. At the same time, they can keep blocking major new expansions of government.
This two-pronged strategy would allow Republicans to isolate Obama and establish themselves as the responsible ones. If he refuses to get serious about addressing the nation’s debt problem, it will be a lot harder to escape responsibility if he can’t point and say, “Hey, look over there, House Republicans want to blow stuff up.”
In the unlikely event that this forces Obama to get serious about tackling the national debt, great. But if he doesn’t, Obama’s legacy will be that of a president who came into office promising to make the “tough choices” necessary to solve our nation’s problems, then proceeded to duck them. Meanwhile, Republicans will have laid out their own vision, and their candidates will have a stronger case to make in 2014 and 2016.
We’ll see whether that plays out in this scenario. More details as they come.
Update: The Huffington Post has a little more detail, emphasis mine:
White House officials say President Barack Obama will ask Congress to come up with tens of billions of dollars in short-term spending cuts and tax revenue to put off the automatic across the board cuts that are scheduled to kick in March 1.
Obama will make his request Tuesday afternoon in a public statement at the White House.
Well, the tax revenue won’t be forthcoming. Republicans already gave Obama tax revenue in January, and unlike at that time, the pressure is now on the White House. In January, tax hikes were coming without any other action. Now, spending cuts will happen without any other action. That’s what’s known as leverage, which Obama seemed to enjoy when he had it six weeks ago.
John Boehner said earlier today that they’re waiting for Obama to make the House an offer:
House Speaker John Boehner on Tuesday urged President Barack Obama to offer ideas to replace the looming, automatic budget cuts known as the sequester. Speaking to reporters on Capitol Hill, Boehner said the House has passed legislation to replace the cuts due to take effect on March 1. About $85 billion in cuts would start on March 1 without congressional action. Leaders of both parties approved the sequester, which was included in the Budget Control Act of 2011 that passed both the House and Senate.
And the sequester was Obama’s idea in the first place.