Obama Wants to Kick the Can a Bit More on the Sequester

Dashiell Bennett

President Obama plans to speak to the country at 1:15 p.m. today, when he will ask Congress to pass a "small" budget package that would stave off the automatic sequester cuts for a little bit longer. The across the board spending cuts, would slash departments all over the government, including the military and entitlement programs on March 1, and would likely lead to thousands of layoffs just as the economy is starting to show signs of life.

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According to White House sources, the President will leave the details up to the Congress, but if they generate about $85 billion in deficit reduction, that could old off the sequester until the end of the fiscal year in September.

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Such a deal would give more to work out a long-term budget, but as John Boehner points out in his response to this latest volley, Congress has already put off the sequester twice, and we're no closer to a grand bargain than we were three months ago. However, by calling for the mini-package today, Obama is basically conceding that no deal will be reached by March 1, when the new deadline officially arrives. The stall tactic also comes one week before the President gives his State of the Union address, will spell out his policies more specifically—and kick off a new round of squabbling over the budget.