The Republicans seem to be stepping in it quite deliberately.
Despite new calls from the White House on Wednesday to enact a combination of tax increases and cuts to postpone the so-called sequester, the House is moving forward on a legislative agenda that assumes deep and arbitrary cuts to defense and domestic programs — once considered unthinkable — will remain in place through the end of the year. ...NYT
The Times goes on to report on Obama's offer that, once again, offers a balance of cuts and revenues that would postpone any serious cuts. But Republicans adamantly refuse any offers.
House Republicans say they believe they have politically inoculated themselves against claims they are responsible for the cuts by approving measures last year that would have substituted reductions in government programs like food stamps for the lower Pentagon spending. Party strategists have advised Republican members to aggressively blame the president for the creation of the automatic cuts and the failure to stop them. ...NYT
I don't think Republicans will get away with another filibuster if they use one to stop a Democratic plan.
The Senate next week will consider competing Democratic and Republican proposals to stop the automatic cuts. The Democratic plan would institute a 30 percent minimum tax rate on incomes over $1 million, cut farm subsidies, and institute military cuts delayed until most United States troops have returned from Afghanistan. Neither plan is expected to win the 60 votes needed to overcome a filibuster. ...NYT
Republicans say they're feeling "invulnerable." Are they? Or are the Dems invulnerable?
Senate Democratic leaders have yet to decide whether they will go along or force another showdown on the automatic cuts, with a government shutdown in the balance. But, aides warned, they will do that only if public opinion has shifted overwhelmingly to their side. So far, they said, the public may say it sides with Democrats, but there is little indication voters feel passionately enough to move Republicans from their trenches. ...NYT
I'm wondering whether both Democrats and Republicans in the general public aren't looking at the probable heavy cuts and seeing mostly the cuts to a bloated military. Is it possible that a majority of voters in both parties would welcome a slimmer, less aggressive American military?
The 2012 election gave President Obama new authority and new energy. Republicans want to place as much distance between themselves and that election as they possibly can. From their perspective, the more months we fritter away on these dumb, fake emergencies, the better. As Obama’s clout slowly diminishes, so will his opportunities to press his priorities.
If Washington can be kept in a state of partisan paralysis, Republicans stand to gain more. ...EJDionne, WaPo
In other words, the sequester has nothing to do with the budget, nothing to do with any of us. It's Republicans willing to toss out all concern about what's good for the country in order to to serve their short term resentment of the President. It's too childish to be possible? No.
... On the merits, Obama has public opinion in his corner. His proposal to avoid the economic drag of the sequester with a reasonable amount of deficit reduction built on a mix of spending cuts and revenue increases through tax reform occupies the debate’s broad middle ground. If the GOP wanted, based on its past positions, it could take a deal of this sort and declare victory, given all the cuts that have already passed.
But that is not the victory the Republicans seek. The sequester game is a contest in which their side wins simply by running out the clock, no matter what the score is. Thus, Obama can’t just score points. He needs to figure out how to end this game so he can play the one he promised us when he said his reelection could “break the fever” in Washington. Alas, it has not broken yet. ...EJDionne, WaPo
Maybe the latest polls will act as a warning. Political Wire has the latest Bloomberg poll.
A new Bloomberg National Poll finds President Obama enters the latest showdown with Congress with his highest job approval in three years and public support for his economic message, while his Republican opponents' popularity stands at a record low.
Key findings: 55% of Americans approve of Obama's in office, the strongest support since Sept 2009. Meanwhile, just 35% of the country has a favorable view of the GOP, the lowest since Sept 2009.
In addition, Americans by 43% to 34% say Republicans are more to blame than and Democrats for what's wrong in Washington. ...Political Wire