True, $85 billion in spending cuts kick in on March 1, but they won't be widely felt for several weeks. Meanwhile, funding for government operations expires March 27. The two fiscal issues could be rolled into one, but a top GOP appropriator sees that as a recipe for disaster.
Talk about your March madness. Two whirling-dervish fiscal issues are bearing down on Washington, and a couple of March deadlines mean that next month is likely to determine whether dealmaking will give Americans a breather from tax-and-spending fights – or whether intractability results in a federal government shutdown.
A key question is whether these two issues – 1) the much-maligned “sequester” and 2) funds to run the government for the second half of the fiscal year – will proceed on separate tracks, or merge onto one. The fuzzy expectation is that they’ll merge, and that the task of replacing the first with something better will be absorbed into second. Call it a two-fer.
But some say such a merger risks yet another fiscal battle royale – including the possibility that the sequester’s crimp on the economy would be followed by something much worse.
“He thinks sequestration cuts alone are terrible,” said a Republican House aide familiar with Chairman Rogers’ thinking. “Having a full government shutdown on top of that would be more than the nation could bear.”
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