Skip to comments.Here’s how Washington insiders think the sequester fight is going to go down
Posted on 02/22/2013 8:49:37 PM PST by ExxonPatrolUs
Chris Krueger, the plugged-in political analyst at GS Washington Research Group, gives his best guess on how the sequester will play out:
Once the media begins pumping out human-interest stories on the impact of sequester (imagine USA Today and People Magazine articles on Air Traffic Controllers and meat inspectors being furloughed, etc.), Washington will very likely fold on the sequester fight, find enough change in the government sofa cushions, and patch together something to either replace or dilute some or all of FY13s ~$85B in sequester cuts.
And here are three possible endgames:
1. Gimmicks (An Obama win):
There are plenty of revenue gimmicks still available, including reviving last summers Pension Funding Stabilization, User Fees (TSA fees or fees pertaining to the Inland Waterways Trust Fund), and higher PBGC premiums. In terms of cuts, the ATRA model can be used again or the Senate Democratic spending cuts (defense cuts starting in FY15 and ~$30B in farm subsidy cuts) could come into play. It costs approximately $12B per month to replace sequester, which is not a big number by Washington budget standards particularly when you have the 10-year budget window.
2. A highly modified continuing resolution (Pick em):
The lack of an FY13 budget and FY13 appropriations bills makes everything more complicated as the government is being run by the CR. However, the CR expiration gives you a vehicle to tweak sequester. In the new FY13 CR, lawmakers could insert language giving the agencies greater flexibility on sequestered cuts. Senate Appropriations Chair Mikulski (D-MD) is advocating a full omnibus that would fund all the government agencies for the remainder of FY13. They could also pass a mini bus of FY13 appropriations bills for the national security agencies (Homeland Security and Department of Defense) that would remove some of the anxiety and downside brewing for the Pentagon. At a bare minimum, the eventual CR (or Omnibus or Minibus) provides a legislative vehicle to attach some sequester tweaks.
3. Put away the meat ax for defense (A GOP win):
The primary objection to the FY13 sequester is the meat ax approach to the cuts and their across-the-board nature. Senate Armed Services Ranking Republican James Inhofe (R-OK) has floated a proposal that would keep the meat-ax in place for the non-defense cuts, but to give the Pentagon flexibility on the ~$42B in FY13 sequester cuts to defense. This proposal if applied to all the cuts could be a fail safe option if all other solutions fail. The sequester dollar amounts would remain, though instead of applying to every agency program, the agency chiefs would cherry pick the cuts. The Obama Administration opposes this because their agency chiefs would in effect own the cuts and the resulting public/media outcry.
The kick-the-can options could create a situation where the sequester continues to hang around, a new version of the AMT Patch and Doc Fix. Krueger: Our base case remains a series of endless policy cliffs. Short-term extensions of these cliffs could result in an endless game of kick the can until the can kicks back.
I propose a cross the board cut to all U.S. Senators, Congressmen and cut in half the money paid to Mr. Obama and Mr. Biden, after all most CEOs pay scale is determined upon how much money their corp is making. Monday, people will start bailing, with the Bankia Spanish bank going up in flames, and England having their sterling silver tarnished, it´s going south. And it will go sliding fast. I´d get real nervous if I was the President, like wring my hands real hard. Pick his nose, and go find some 3rd graders and ask them what he should do. I think they would have more sense than the people he has surrounded himself with.
I’ll go for door #1. Boehner and McConnell have no interest in fighting the kenyan. Obama insults them on the radio and Boehner replies with an op-ed, surrender hanky already in hand.
McConnell lives for budget gimmicks and deal making. I am sure he has a bunch wrapped and ready to go. In the end this will be just another dem beat down of the Gelded Old Party.
Cut the budget for White House Operations so Obama can’t go flying around in AF1 every other week to another far flung golf outing.
If we can not ever reduce the size of government then the fight needs to take place in the streets,
The 16T debt will be 30T in 4 years,
Each of our kids will then owe $300,000 dollars.
Best to end the game.
The courageous president will have stood up to the eeeevill republicans who were trying to feed grandma dogfood and kill smokey bear. And we will all bow down and give thanks.
85 billion out of this budget??? as far as I am concerned I would be happier with a straight across the board 10 or 15 % cut. End of story period. The government has grown by far more than that during The One’s first term. And I do NOT mean a cut in growth. I mean a straight across the board CUT
Actually, if they would just force all Senators and Congressmen to go home on 1 March and stay in their districts or states for 90 days...I’d be happy. The national media would be screwed up immediately and not have soap operas to telecast nightly about Senators and Representatives.
As for Sequestration....I don’t anything will occur, and the President will be shocked at the extent of his program. True, it will be miserable to travel through airports....but basically...life goes on, and by October....I think the President will realize his creation isn’t that big of a deal.
Option 4 (unlikely) - PRODUCE AND PASS A FREAKING BUDGET by the 27th of March. NO MORE CR’s. Crisis management has GOT to end.