President Obama’s challenge to congressional Republicans to join with him in crafting legislation to delay the sequester puts the GOP in a tough spot. But it’s not impossible it’ll end up doing the same to Democrats too.
In brief remarks Tuesday afternoon, Obama called for passing a small package of revenue increases and spending cuts that would delay the implementation of the $1.2 trillion sequester, which is now scheduled to take effect March 1. A short-term fix would, in theory, spare the economy needless contraction and buy both parties time to craft an ever-elusive “grand bargain” – something Obama has pursued on and off with congressional Republicans for nearly two years now.
For the moment, Obama’s gambit puts the GOP on the defensive. The negative economic impact of the sequester, which is crafted to hit the Defense Department hardest and to spare Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, is fairly clear, and as March 1 nears the pressure to avoid it will grow. Defense contractors, traditionally a Republican-friendly constituency, will obviously push particularly hard for a workaround.
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