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"That 2011 sequester law is really haunting Congress right now."
Posted by: Ted King
Date: January 11, 2018 11:16AM
I had been thinking that the budget process Congress is going through now (deadline coming soon!) would play out along the lines of the many debt limit extension compromises that have been made in the past because those require 60 votes in the Senate. The budget will also need 60 votes, but the underlying dynamic is significantly different than a simple debt limit extension and the sequester law is a significant part of that. Vox explains:

Quote

Lurking behind the debates around the government shutdown, there’s a problem Republicans need to deal with — one that gives Democrats leverage in negotiations.

That problem is budget caps, which put a hard upper limit on how much Congress can spend on military and domestic programs.

It all goes back to 2011, when an Obama-era impasse over the debt ceiling brought the American economy to near calamity. The ultimate result was the 2013 sequester, which set into law across-the-board budget cuts and established caps that would amount to $1.2 trillion in cuts over the next 10 years.

It’s important to remember that these sequester caps were never actually supposed to go into effect. They were designed to force a compromise. To win Republican votes to raise the debt ceiling, Obama agreed to push Congress to reduce the national debt, threatening cuts to domestic programs, which Democrats didn’t want, and to military spending, which Republicans didn’t want.

Since the sequester, there have been two bipartisan deals to raise the caps by billions of dollars. The first in 2013 was forged between Paul Ryan and Patty Murray; a second was agreed upon in 2015.

There’s no question that Trump wants Congress to do that again. His proposed defense budget busts the sequester cap by tens of billions. There’s just one problem: Congress needs 60 votes in the Senate.

Congress now has until January 19 — less than two weeks — to find a way to avoid a government shutdown and a sequester. Democrats don’t often find themselves in a position to leverage their agenda, but the sequester caps open a path to get protections for the undocumented immigrants previously covered by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and permanent funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program.
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So far, Congress has punted on government spending negotiations since October 1 of last year, the start of the 2018 fiscal year, passing short-term continuing resolution spending bills to keep the government open.

This hasn’t been popular on either side of the aisle. The Democratic base has grown increasingly agitated about kicking DACA down the road, calling on their lawmakers to use the threat of government shutdown to win a legislative fix for DACA. Meanwhile, Republican defense hawks have been frustrated with the lack of permanent defense funding, warning that it hobbles the military’s ability to appropriately plan resources.

“We must start doing our job again, pass budgets and go through the normal appropriations process, and provide our military with adequate, predictable funding,” Senate Armed Services Committee Chair John McCain (R-AZ) said at a hearing in early December.

There’s already chatter about another CR to give Congress more time to strike a permanent 2018 spending bill, but Matthew Dennis, the Democratic spokesperson for the House Appropriations Committee told Vox it’s unlikely that would be able to pass without a deal on DACA and without raising the budget caps for 2018.

Continuing the 2017 spending levels would actually break the 2018 sequester caps, meaning passing a CR without increasing the sequester caps would result in a $6 billion total cut from defense and non-defense spending.
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Having already secured some wins through the budget process in the past, coming to an agreement on a spending bill for 2017 that nearly half the GOP conference hated, the minority party has now racked up an even longer list of priorities.

There’s DACA, which has taken shape as the top priority. But Democrats also want to see permanent funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which covers nearly 9 million kids. Congress let CHIP lapse in October, and has since only given temporary funding to pay for the past three months. Some states estimate they will have to begin shutting down their programs before the end of the month if they don’t see relief from Congress.

With every spending fight, there are a whole host of Democratic “nonstarters” that Republicans have been known to propose. For example, Democrats have made it clear that they will not allow funding for the southern border wall that Trump has insisted on since taking office. Likewise, every effort to defund Planned Parenthood has also been met with organized Democratic opposition.

“These are all crises being created by congressional Republicans or the president,” one senior Democratic leadership aide said.

As with all spending fights, this will be a game of chicken between Democrats and Republicans. It’s still not clear which party will blink.
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Re: "That 2011 sequester law is really haunting Congress right now."
Posted by: Ammo
Date: January 11, 2018 11:30AM
Another thing that’s different this time around: no leadership from the White House to help broker a deal that a). Will get the necessary votes, and b). Produce a result that that puts the overall interests of our country first. With 45, it’s all about winning or losing, compromises be dam__d.



“The further a society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those who speak it.” George Orwell

Always remember that your present situation is not your final destination.

"The opposite for courage is not cowardice, it is conformity. Even a dead fish can go with the flow." Jim Hightower
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Re: "That 2011 sequester law is really haunting Congress right now."
Posted by: Ombligo
Date: January 11, 2018 12:17PM
I could see a compromise being reached only for it to be vetoed simply because Trump thought he could do better.



“No persons are more frequently wrong, than those who will not admit they are wrong.”
-- François de La Rochefoucauld
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Re: "That 2011 sequester law is really haunting Congress right now."
Posted by: samintx
Date: January 11, 2018 01:48PM
Trump would sign anything that has the word W A L L on it.
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Re: "That 2011 sequester law is really haunting Congress right now."
Posted by: Onamuji
Date: January 11, 2018 07:48PM
Quote
Ammo
Another thing that’s different this time around: no leadership from the White House to help broker a deal that a). Will get the necessary votes, and b). Produce a result that that puts the overall interests of our country first. With 45, it’s all about winning or losing, compromises be dam__d.

Yeah, but this president is an imbecile who lives for flattery.

Ted Cruz just tells him that the dems folded in the face of Trump's enormous charisma and brilliant strategizing and whatever the bill is, it's got Trump's support.



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Re: "That 2011 sequester law is really haunting Congress right now."
Posted by: rjmacs
Date: January 12, 2018 07:50AM
This process will test whether Congress is willing to override the Racist-in-Chief's veto.



rj
AKA
Vreemac, Moth of the Future
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Re: "That 2011 sequester law is really haunting Congress right now."
Posted by: deckeda
Date: January 12, 2018 01:31PM
A shrunken military is one that’s easily funded. America needs to consider that option, instead of pretending it can’t exist. Saying that there are ways and means of being safe and protected without such an enormous percentage of our GDP spent on defense is a third rail of politics that is larger than religion or abortion ... because both Repubs and Dems subscribe to it.
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