As originally designed in 2011, the deficit-reduction sequester splits cuts between defense and domestic spending, and explicitly exempted programs like social security and Medicaid. But no one in Washington believes the sequester cuts will be permanent, and liberals worry the deal Congress eventually reaches to replace it will slash funding to those programs — as Republicans and some Democrats have advocated.

“There’s a broader concern about the fact that entitlements may get ensnared when we go to an alternative fix, [that] they won’t escape,” Rep. Jerry Nadler, a progressive Democrat from New York, told BuzzFeed. “I have heard that concern.”

“Not only do we have the sequester, but we have to be thinking about the deal that replaces it as well,” said Melissa Boteach, a director at the Center for American Progress. “Republicans have already begin to push hard for benefit cuts.”…

The AFL-CIO, the country’s largest federation of unions, released a statement this week urging Congress to repeal, not replace, the sequester, arguing that cuts to social security, Medicaid, and Medicare benefits were a form of “Republican ransom demands.”