Republicans Start to Get Wobbly on Sequester

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Feb. 8 2013 11:11 AM

Republicans Start to Get Wobbly on Sequester

Former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay prepares to sign a copy of his book "No Retreat, No Surrender" March 27, 2007 in Sugar Land, Texas.

Photo by Dave Einsel/Getty Images

The most confusing who's-up-who's-down in this city right now is the War Over Sequestration. A brief recap:

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics

- $1.2 trillion is scheduled to be cut from the defense budget and parts of the non-defense budget. We have a clear idea of what would be cut if this goes through.


- The "fiscal cliff" deal delayed the sequestration cuts, scheduled to begin January 2, to March 1. Republican leaders are convinced that doing this "de-coupled" the cuts from tax increases. "Revenue is over," as Mitch McConnell put it.

But de-coupling the cuts from taxes put Republicans back where they were in December, when they passed a "sequestration replacement" bill that replaced all the defense savings with entitlement cuts. So you're already hearing Republicans talk about ways to delay or alter the cuts, again. I've heard a number of current members make the point made here by the Ghost of Past Republican Failure.

Tom DeLay, the former House majority leader, who was meeting with a few of his former colleagues on Wednesday at the Capitol, says Boehner’s playbook is “sharp,” since defense spending “can always be replaced during the appropriations process, after the cuts are put into place.”

Yes. If the sequestration happens, it's only a mere four weeks until Republicans have to pass a continuing resolution to fund the government. They can move the money around again. That takes another cannonball out of the cannon. Another one is being whisked away right now by Sen. Kelly Ayotte and Rep. Buck McKeon, who are schlepping the Down Payment to Protect National Security Act of 2013. It would replace the first year of defense cuts with austerity hiring freezes.

Spending hawks are furious. "I think it is a disaster," says one Republican member of Congress who's been howling for a deficit plan. "I cannot tell you what a disaster I think it is for Republicans to take a year of cuts and play the same game we've been playing. The cuts are back-loaded, so there's no way of telling that will happen. It erodes every ounce of credibility on our side."

David Weigel is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics


The World

The Budget Disaster that Sabotaged the WHO’s Response to Ebola

Are the Attacks in Canada a Sign of ISIS on the Rise in the West?

PowerPoint Is the Worst, and Now It’s the Latest Way to Hack Into Your Computer

Watch Little Girls Swear for Feminism

Fascinating Maps Based on Reddit, Craigslist, and OkCupid Data


The Real Secret of Serial

What reporter Sarah Koenig actually believes.


The Actual World

“Mount Thoreau” and the naming of things in the wilderness.

In Praise of 13th Grade: Why a Fifth Year of High School Is a Great Idea

Can Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu Pull Off One More Louisiana Miracle?

  News & Politics
The World
Oct. 23 2014 1:51 PM Is This the ISIS Backlash We've Been Waiting For?
Business Insider
Oct. 23 2014 2:36 PM Take a Rare Peek Inside the Massive Data Centers That Power Google
Atlas Obscura
Oct. 23 2014 1:34 PM Leave Me Be Beneath a Tree: Trunyan Cemetery in Bali
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 23 2014 11:33 AM Watch Little Princesses Curse for the Feminist Cause
  Slate Plus
Oct. 23 2014 11:28 AM Slate’s Working Podcast: Episode 2 Transcript Read what David Plotz asked Dr. Meri Kolbrener about her workday.
Oct. 23 2014 1:46 PM The Real Secret of Serial Has Sarah Koenig made up her mind yet? 
Oct. 23 2014 11:45 AM The United States of Reddit  How social media is redrawing our borders. 
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Oct. 23 2014 7:30 AM Our Solar System and Galaxy … Seen by an Astronaut
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.