Josh Barro has a
good postthis morning that lays out two possible reasons for why Republicans are supposedly close to agreeing to a deal that relaxes the sequestration cuts in 2014. First, it increases defence spending and second, it prevents another politically damaging government shutdown.
As Josh points out, Republicans have seemed at peace with the defence cuts. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell worked tirelessly during the end of the last shutdown to ensure that sequestration stayed in place. Republicans had the option to either keep the sequester or relax the both the defence and non-defence cuts and they chose the former.
Now, they seem to have reversed that position.
House Speaker John Boehner is readying a continuing resolution that would fund the government at sequester levels in case the budget talks fails. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid would accept such a deal instead of forcing another shutdown, according to Politico. That means Republicans could avoid a government shutdown and keep the full sequester cuts if they hold a hard line.
Instead, it seems that Rep. Paul Ryan and Sen. Patty Murray, the top negotiators on the budget conference are nearing a deal. If it passes, Republicans will have flipped positions on the sequester in less than two months.
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