In the final week before "the sequester" takes effect—automatic, across-the-board spending reductions triggered if the White House and Congress fail to reach a budget deal by March 1 —Republicans and Democrats are doing what they can to ensure the other side takes the blame when the hammer falls.
The National Republican Congressional Committee will release a paid online Web ad Monday that slams Democrats for not taking up GOP measures that would replace the sequester with more deliberate cuts. (Democrats hold that any new spending cuts must be paired with tax increases.)
The GOP web ad, seen first at Yahoo News, piggybacks off Sunday's Academy Awards and targets Rep. Nick Rahall of West Virginia and John Barrow of Georgia, two House Democrats the NRCC considers vulnerable in the 2014 mid-term elections.
The snarky minute-long spot shows Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi "awarding" Democrats for their role in the sequester debates.
The Republican ad comes days after a similar Web video released last week by the NRCC's counterpart, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, blamed Republicans for allowing the cuts.
The messaging efforts suggest that both sides believe Congress will fail to reach a compromise to avoid the automatic string of cuts by Friday's deadline. If that happens, each party wants the opposition to take the brunt of the blame. But the videos are being produced for online audiences rather than (more expensive) television markets, suggesting both sides don't see it necessary to devote their heavy ammunition to the battle over the sequester—at least not yet.