Trading sequester to avoid a government shutdown?

posted at 9:21 am on February 25, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

The sequestration cuts hit on Friday, but that may not be the biggest worry on either end of Pennsylvania Avenue.  By the last week of March, the continuing resolution that provides funding for the federal government expires — and without another CR or completed budget, that means everything shuts down, and not just the few job functions that the White House is using for its Nightmare on Sequester Street hysterics.  The Wall Street Journal reports that talks on the sequester have shifted to avoiding a government shutdown — and largely accepting the sequester:

Already looking past the current budget impasse gripping the capital, congressional leaders are quietly considering a deal to avert a government shutdown next month—but at the cost of prolonging across-the-board spending cuts.

Attention is beginning to shift from Friday, when the broad cuts known as the sequester kick in, to the next budget deadline: Congress must pass a so-called continuing resolution by the end of March to keep funding government operations.

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.

The White House objects to the lower baseline for the CR negotiations, but Democrats may not have much choice but to accept it:

A White House official said the administration wouldn’t go along with such a plan to extend the lower spending levels. And Democrats are insisting that the House GOP bill also give new latitude to domestic agencies as well as the Pentagon.

But an aide to Senate Democratic leaders said such a measure might be politically difficult for the lawmakers to oppose, lest they bear the blame for shutting down the government.

“There’s an emerging consensus that it would be a difficult battle to have,” said the Senate leadership aide. “I don’t think we could force a shutdown.”

That is the benefit of having control of one chamber of Congress.  John Boehner can pass bills that fund government and readjust the sequester to give the White House more control over spending the limited funds.  If the Senate doesn’t act, it won’t be the Republicans who are the obstructionists this time around, and they won’t be the party responsible for a government shutdown.

The House GOP have a weak hand, but they’re playing what they have pretty well.  They may end up notching down the baseline spending assumptions incrementally through this process and force real spending cuts in exchange for keeping the doors open.  It’s not success, but it’s at least a start, if they can pull it off.


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If the Senate doesn’t act, it won’t be the Republicans who are the obstructionists this time around, and they won’t be the party responsible for a government shutdown.

factually true, but will not be reported as such…hence forth lies the real battle.

hillsoftx on February 25, 2013 at 9:27 AM

Sounds great until Jug ears gets in front of the cameras and blames the Republicans. At that point the MSM picks up the ball and regurgitates the message. From there the low information voters believe it’s all the evil racist Republicans again.

Rinse repeat.

bsinc1962 on February 25, 2013 at 9:27 AM

I hope they do, but I won’t be holding my breath.

KCB on February 25, 2013 at 9:28 AM

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.

Sorry, but they need to get way more than that out of the deal. The “lower levels” aren’t gonna see any significant cuts in spending or reforms to entitlements. It’s just more kicking the can down the road.

Doughboy on February 25, 2013 at 9:28 AM

John Boehner can pass bills that fund government and readjust the sequester to give the White House more control over spending the limited funds. If the Senate doesn’t act, it won’t be the Republicans who are the obstructionists this time around, and they won’t be the party responsible for a government shutdown.

But the Republicans will be painted as obstructionists nonetheless, either because the the Republican-led House or the Republican Senators refuse to go along with whatever the Dems want to do. It’s a no-win situation for the Republicans. They’ll always be blamed no matter what they do.

Syzygy on February 25, 2013 at 9:29 AM

Why is a 4th year of CR on the 2009 budget acceptable in a Republic where our elected leaders are supposed to represent us in yearly budget negotiations?

Why was one party able to lock in the budget of their supermajority forever?

Where is the outrage?

Conan on February 25, 2013 at 9:30 AM

Feet to the fire, GOP, feet to the fire!

OldEnglish on February 25, 2013 at 9:31 AM

k e e p
s p e n d i n g
a n d

KOOLAID2 on February 25, 2013 at 9:31 AM

Kick the Republicans down the road strategy .

Lucano on February 25, 2013 at 9:33 AM

k i c k i n g
t h e
c a n
d o w n
t h e
r o a d

KOOLAID2 on February 25, 2013 at 9:33 AM

bsinc1962 on February 25, 2013 at 9:27 AM

Boehner caved a day after the deadline on taxes. His idea of hanging tough is to cave at the last minute and I believe he does it for the same reason Obama likes this. He can force opponents out of negotiating ANY deal because it is too late. Not the I want a deal here but I will be watching to see if like last time we suddenly have 89 Senators who agree when we were supposedly too far apart up till then

Conan on February 25, 2013 at 9:34 AM

But the Republicans will be painted as obstructionists nonetheless, either because the the Republican-led House or the Republican Senators refuse to go along with whatever the Dems want to do. It’s a no-win situation for the Republicans. They’ll always be blamed no matter what they do.

Syzygy on February 25, 2013 at 9:29 AM

That goes without saying. And the GOP needs to counter that message. But ultimately they need to just accept(and I think many Republicans finally have) that Obama is not going to lead on anything. He’s interested in getting his agenda through by any means necessary and blaming others for his shortcomings. At some point hopefully enough of the American electorate gets tired of that song and dance. It may already be happening based on even his sycophants in the media voicing concern that he’s crying wolf over the sequester’s allegedly devastating cuts.

Doughboy on February 25, 2013 at 9:35 AM

If the Senate doesn’t act, it won’t be the Republicans who are the obstructionists this time around, and they won’t be the party responsible for a government shutdown.

Pollyanna, thy name is Ed.

KS Rex on February 25, 2013 at 9:35 AM

For all the flak Republicans take from the press, they should have stopped caring about it, and learn from Obama to please the base first and give lip service to the “moderates” second. Kill as much spending as possible, up to and including defunding entire departments, and repeat “Blame Obama” mantra in every interview. It won’t work as effective without the MSM to carry water for them, but it’s better than taking the blame *and* angering the base at the same time.

Archivarix on February 25, 2013 at 9:40 AM

-Boehner looking for anyway possible to cave in to Obama.
-Obama claiming victory no matter what happens.
-Reid planning to give “Honorary Democrat” medals to all Republicans who support him and Obama.
-Nancy Pelosi still crazy as a rabid bat.
-Michelle thinking of starting up a chain of dancing schools…after she goes on vacation again…
-Clintons scheming for 2016.

albill on February 25, 2013 at 9:41 AM

Leave it to those sneaky evil Republicans to use Obama’s own ideas, ones that he would never allow to be changed, against him to remain obstructionist.

Hoban ‘Wash’ Washburn: “This landing is gonna get pretty interesting.”
Capt. Malcolm Reynolds: “Define ‘interesting’”.
Hoban ‘Wash’ Washburn: [deadpan] “Oh God, oh God, we’re all going to die?”
Serenity

Liam on February 25, 2013 at 9:42 AM

Again, any Republican that voted to keep Boehner as Speaker needs to be primaried. Until that happens, it’s just more compromise to kick the can down the road. It’s endless.

Mr. Arrogant on February 25, 2013 at 9:45 AM

SHUT IT DOWN!

Just think, Washington would finally realize there’s been a recession!

GarandFan on February 25, 2013 at 9:46 AM

another crisis – oh my

forest on February 25, 2013 at 9:49 AM

…fluke everyone of them…as JugEars said last year…let the sequester kick in!

KOOLAID2 on February 25, 2013 at 9:52 AM

Government shutdown??
Going back to 2011 spending levels shuts down the government…1.4% cut shuts it down???

right2bright on February 25, 2013 at 9:53 AM

Up next in the line up is a batter with an amazing 000 batting average. We think this guy is doing a superb job and think this time he might actually hit the ball out of the park. We base this opinion on nothing more than absolutely nothing at all. Stay tuned for our failure to mea culpa and more future self congratulation in advance of certain failure!

astonerii on February 25, 2013 at 9:54 AM

For over four years, senate democrats have failed to even propose, let alone produce, a federal budget draft, as mandated by law. Has anyone heard any main stream media news source report to its viewers this failure by congressional democrats to do one of the few things they were elected and mandated by law and the constitution to do?

This is one issue where I believe partial blame of republicans is justified. How can you go for four years allowing the opposing party to run and fund the government without demanding the senate Democrats even propose a federal budget? Republicans might have had a weak excuse when Dems controlled the presidency and both houses of congress,but something major should have been done about this abdication of duty a long time ago.

Cavalry on February 25, 2013 at 9:56 AM

To clarify…1.4% first year, 2.7% over the next ten years…only a 2.7%, that’s .27% (a quarter of one percent) each year average decrease…they can’t find .25% budget cut???

right2bright on February 25, 2013 at 9:58 AM

Can someone remind me? Has Jugears submitted his budget proposal yet? The one due Feb 4th I believe?

At this point, what difference does it make?

can_con on February 25, 2013 at 10:00 AM

If management of something degenerates to the point where it’s nothing but spastic reactions to a series crises, then it’s all over but the crying. Could be a business, a war, a relationship, pretty much anything, but it’s doomed for sure.

forest on February 25, 2013 at 10:00 AM

Prezzy Don’t Call My Bluff’s gonna win this ‘battle’ either way. He’s always gonna be able to demonize the Rs, they will always cave, he’ll get around the sequester and still get a higher level in the CR. Bet me.

Kissmygrits on February 25, 2013 at 10:03 AM

‘If the Senate doesn’t act….’

Yeah…umm they haven’t acted in 4 years and no repercussions yet due to the lsm

cmsinaz on February 25, 2013 at 10:03 AM

I am truly amazed that I hear the ‘talking heads’ explaining that sequester is attacking the wrong area, that it should be going after ‘entitlements’ not discretionary spending. I wonder how many of the sheeples understand the concept of “base-budgeting”? I don’t get an automatic 8% raise every year, hell I haven’t had a raise in years. Where is the justification for a spending increase just because you exist?

I think going after discretionary spend is great, they have to start somewhere and if Hairy Reed doesn’t pass a budget, shut it down. It will eventually be shutdown because they are going to run out of OPM.

belad on February 25, 2013 at 10:07 AM

I think going after discretionary spend is great, they have to start somewhere and if Hairy Reed doesn’t pass a budget, shut it down. It will eventually be shutdown because they are going to run out of OPM.

belad on February 25, 2013 at 10:07 AM

It is impossible to run out of other people’s money when you are using the money of future generations. They have an infinite amount of money.

What is going to happen is that inflation will eventually rear its ugly head. Then the government has a choice, cut the creation of funny money and suffer through a long and hard recession/depression or keep on printing money until we turn into Zimbabwe/Weimer Republic. Which one do you think they will choose?

It has nothing to do with other people’s money any more. They divorced that with funny money creation, and now it is enslavement of future generations. How much enslavement are we willing to lock them into?

astonerii on February 25, 2013 at 10:16 AM

Recovery summer…

Three letter word: JOBS

Focused like a laser drone

Sumptin sumptin

What do you want me to do? Suck it out with a straw?

I’m not coming for your guns.

Can’t you just let me eat my waffles?

Now watch this drive.

Facepalm

can_con on February 25, 2013 at 10:16 AM

Coming soon to a theater near you “Sequester: The Movie” See civilization collapse! See cats and dogs play together! See pigs fly!

http://www.imperfectamerica.com

imperfectamerica on February 25, 2013 at 10:21 AM

whoopty-fricken-doo…wow, so instead of forcing my kids into indentured servitude over a $3.4 trillion dollar budget, they’ll forced into fiscal slavery by $2.7 trillion dollar budget….i’m sure they’ll sleep better at night.

powerpickle on February 25, 2013 at 10:36 AM

Oh, in the noos media and in the minds of the idiots who elected Obama, any government shutdown will be the Republicans’ fault anyway.

WannabeAnglican on February 25, 2013 at 10:38 AM

I disagree, this is the best opportunity to force Obama and the Democrats to pass a budget. All of this is solved with a budget and they really need to do it. I’m wondering what happens when the people find out the only cuts are actually in defense and the rest of it is a cut from projected spending increases.

bflat879 on February 25, 2013 at 10:38 AM

Another stinking crisis. Somebody PLEASE take away his “Crisis-of-the-Day” dartboard.

NotEasilyFooled on February 25, 2013 at 10:39 AM

The GOP is playing this right, getting a little reduction everywhere we can. This is the game the Democrats have played for years that got us in this position, we need to do the same in reverse by making cuts where we can when we can and moving on to the next manufactured crisis and doing the same.

Tater Salad on February 25, 2013 at 10:42 AM

Tater Salad on February 25, 2013 at 10:42 AM

Name one real cut that has happened thus far?

astonerii on February 25, 2013 at 10:49 AM

The GOP is playing this right, getting a little reduction everywhere we can. This is the game the Democrats have played for years that got us in this position, we need to do the same in reverse by making cuts where we can when we can and moving on to the next manufactured crisis and doing the same.

Tater Salad on February 25, 2013 at 10:42 AM

My little naive poster…the “GOP” is made up of politicians who want to keep their jobs…only a couple step out and actually lead.

What they are doing is trying to figure out how to best keep their job and increase their power and money…they don’t care about “cuts”…

Look again this “disaster” that they are so worried about is a 2.7% budget cut over 10 years…get it??? 2.7% over 10 years.

You don’t think their is 2.7% fat in most any budget, home, church, city, state, federal??

Let me repeat…2.7% over 10 years is what this “BIG F’in DEAL” is all about….—.27% average each year.

right2bright on February 25, 2013 at 11:01 AM

I vote for the government shut down with the exception of law enforcement and military. It would be refreshing to have them all on furlough for awhile so that they can ponder what it’s like to be unemployed in the real world.

cajunpatriot on February 25, 2013 at 11:03 AM

right2bright on February 25, 2013 at 11:01 AM

You suck at math, but your argument in general is sound.
2.7% in one year or 2.7% over 10 years is still 2.7% period.
If you save 2.7% over 10 years as opposed to 2.7% over 1 year, you save 2.7% of the planned spending over the 10 years. Say the budget was flat each year, then it would be 10 times the size of a one year savings. If on the other hand, the budget goes up each year, then you save more than 10 times the amount of total money over the ten years.

But the government is way too fat.

astonerii on February 25, 2013 at 11:11 AM

k i c k i n g
t h e
c a n Republic
d o w n
t h e
r o a d
KOOLAID2 on February 25, 2013 at 9:33 AM

FiFY

can_con on February 25, 2013 at 11:37 AM

Republicans will cave, everyone will bend over.

anikol on February 25, 2013 at 11:40 AM

The sequester is an amount based on a $1 trillion plus in cuts over 10 years. Just furloughing some civilians at the pentagon and crying about gloom and doom on the domestic side will not get the whole thing done. If furloughs are the choice, then either they are going to furlough every year for ten years or figure out how to cut their manpower budget and domestic discretionary spending by…85 billion per year. And the best place to itemize that, would be in a real budget. When I do 85 billion in cuts I don’t get to one trillion in ten years, but maybe the compounded interest on the borrowing gets you there…anyone do the math?

But, this cut was agreed to by the President to PAY FOR his last debt ceiling raise. They said to him, “If you want to borrow this much more, you have to cut the budget by this amount over ten years.” That does not get the president any increase for the future.

The President is LATE right now with his budget for October 2014 and I give him an Incomplete. I. We think this is how he got thru law school, making bargains so he did not have to do the work. The current levels of borrowing expire in May (19th?) because otherwise they were going to withhold sending you your tax return…holding your tax return hostage, with the day care ladies and the policemen and the firefighters and girl’s soccer.

The democrats are dragging their feet because they don’t want to write a budget that cuts spending. The only remedy to that is to shut it all down. Tell the world ahead of time, don’t plan on that trip to the federal park, or the national mall, there is no money, plan some other trip, the President is playing games with you.

Fleuries on February 25, 2013 at 11:51 AM

How much enslavement are we willing to lock them into?

astonerii on February 25, 2013 at 10:16 AM

As long as the low information sheeples continue to be fed by the accomplices in the MSM, the sheeples will defend the enlightened ruling class(remember the pigs are more equal), become restless and want more, or they start to feel a decrease in their stipend.

Don’t worry, there will be plenty of blood in the streets before the sheeples wake up and stop being useful tools for the ruling elites.

belad on February 25, 2013 at 11:57 AM

That is the benefit of having control of one chamber of Congress. John Boehner can pass bills that fund government and readjust the sequester to give the White House more control over spending the limited funds. If the Senate doesn’t act, it won’t be the Republicans who are the obstructionists this time around, and they won’t be the party responsible for a government shutdown.

Totally Wrong!

Republcans have passed budgets each of the last twp years. The Democrats, and the media, simply pretend they did not exist.

How much longer can bloggers continue to completely miss the point?

Freddy on February 25, 2013 at 12:24 PM

The House GOP have a weak hand, but they’re playing what they have pretty well.

Maybe part of our problem is accepting this statement to begin with. Since when is a 234 – 201 majority in the house a weak hand? Show some guts.

Yes, there will be backlash and there will be pain. But it’s going to happen eventually, and each time it’s pushed back with this sort of abdication of duty (endless CR’s) it adds to the ultimate pain. And guess what, ‘pubs? They’re going to blame you and refuse to give you any plaudits no matter what you do, every time. Deal with it.

bofh on February 25, 2013 at 12:33 PM

How much longer can bloggers continue to completely miss the point?

Freddy on February 25, 2013 at 12:24 PM

Depends how long are we going to pretend a “mere” 2.7% spending increase constitute spending cuts? The reality is that government is being asked to spend like it is 2011.

Happy Nomad on February 25, 2013 at 12:43 PM

Hopefully, Boehner has learned the lesson that it is impossible to negotiate with Obama. It is impossible to negotiate with a speech.

His only approach is to pass a bill, wait for the Senate to respond and reconcile differences in joint committee if they act. The president role in law making is to sign or veto bills presented to him.

Laurence on February 25, 2013 at 12:48 PM

The House GOP have a weak hand, but they’re playing what they have pretty well. They may end up notching down the baseline spending assumptions incrementally through this process and force real spending cuts in exchange for keeping the doors open. It’s not success, but it’s at least a start, if they can pull it off.

A better option would be just to simply fold the weak hand, go home, watch old MST3K DVDs, and publicly vow to return only when Obama wants to be serious. If that means they stay home for the rest of the entire term, so be it.

The only reason why this weak hand exists is because Bohenor is so willing to negotiate against himself, rid his leadership of any dissenting voices, and comes off as small and diminished. He and only he will be the reason why the GOP will suffer badly in the 2014 elections.

This never should have degenerated as badly as it has.

Myron Falwell on February 25, 2013 at 12:49 PM

The house gop has always had the power of the purse. They have been too weak to use it. Can’t wait for the primary season.

Panther on February 25, 2013 at 12:57 PM

Hey you Dems, Proggies, Libbies, Lefties, and other wastrels – if you airholes would lean on Harry Reid to pass a budget, you wouldn’t have these fiscal & financial problems.

You’d have other problems; but they wouldn’t be fiscal or financial.

ss396 on February 25, 2013 at 2:36 PM

Anyone betting that Boehner will, for the first time, stand firm? Anyone… Anyone?

RJL on February 25, 2013 at 2:46 PM

The funny thing is that these politicians forget that they have to go home, sooner or later.
We’ll be waiting for them….ready to defnd our God given rights; against any grab agreement made by them.
This Marxist system. in its current form, is dead.
So friends, stock up on food, fuel, ammo, and toilet paper.
Be prepared to run fron the urban chaos.
Things are about to go bump in the night.
III/0317

dirtengineer on February 25, 2013 at 3:37 PM

If you had a baby on the day the Dems last past a budget, she would be 3 years, 10 months, and 17 days old.

#whereisthebudget?

Resist We Much on February 25, 2013 at 4:20 PM

Obama can say whatever he wants about the Republicans and the low information voter will believe him because most tv news channels will go right along with the lies. GOP might as well stand on principle, but they will cave thinking that the low information voter will notice and like them. The only thing that will turn this country around is for Conservative MSM sources to dominate and for the whole economy to crash-and-burn.

Decoski on February 25, 2013 at 7:42 PM