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Sequestration: For Defense Watchers

29 Jan 2013

Sequestration: For Defense Watchers

The big question is how a pushed-back showdown over the debt ceiling would affect the dynamics of the debate over sequestration, set to begin taking effect March 1. Morning Defense writes, “On the surface, a delayed debt-ceiling would appear to remove the GOP’s leverage at the negotiating table, since Republicans were expected to use to the ceiling to extract concessions from the White House: small defense cuts (in lieu of sequestration) and large entitlement cuts.  … BUT UNDER THE GOP PLAN, the debt ceiling would remain on the negotiating table: The White House’s ultimate goal is a long-term fix, not a short-term patch. On top of that, the delay would bring sequestration to the forefront as the immediate issue — and it’s one Republicans think they can win in the eyes of the American people. Instead of being seen as forcing a government default, they’d be able to portray themselves as fighting to protect the military, defense jobs, the industrial base. Will Senate Democrats, and the president, go along?” PAUL RYAN says he fully expects the sequestration cuts to kick in because Democrats are showing no signs of compromise. “We expect that,” he told a Wall Street Journal breakfast. Ryan said the GOP position is clear: They will demand cuts of that size and not compromise by offering any revenue increases to change it. To raise the debt limit after May, assuming they successfully lift it for three months, Republicans will demand cuts “on top of that” to resolve the standoff. He didn’t speak to specific cuts to defense programs.” D.C. LAWMAKERS, CONTRACTORS WORRY OVER DoD JOB CUTS Politico’s Leigh Munsil, “Some of the lawmakers with the most to lose from sequestration — those who represent Washington’s suburbs packed with defense contractors and federal workers — have lost their onetime optimism that Congress could avoid it.”

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