It looks like sequestration is coming.
In an interview, Senator Roy Blunt predicts “nothing” will happen when congressional leaders huddle with President Obama at the White House on Friday to discuss potential alternatives to the automatic spending cuts, which will go into effect on the same day.
“Nothing will happen at this Friday meeting,” Blunt says. “The president will say we need a balanced approach, and that means more taxes, and we’re not going to do that.”
Later Thursday, the Senate will vote on two sequestration-replacement plans, but Blunt and most Republicans say both pieces of legislation will likely fail. Thus, if the White House meeting yields little progress, that will leave few, if any, options available, beyond a last-minute deal.
Blunt, a Missouri Republican and member of the leadership team, is open to giving the president discretion to replace the sequester cuts, at least for the remainder of the fiscal year. For the moment, however, he’s just not sure if a specific solution will emerge, or if the talks will continue to stall.
“I’d be willing to let the president target the cuts with some congressional oversight, but only for the fiscal year that ends on September 30,” he says. After this fiscal year, he would like oversight to return entirely to Congress, and appropriate through a “normal process.”
As you might expect, Blunt’s displeasure with the Democrats goes beyond sequestration. He is frustrated by Senate Democrats’ fiscal inaction. During our chat, he promoted his Twitter hash tag (#NoDemBudget), which, he hopes, will pressure his colleagues to act.
“They haven’t passed a budget in 1,400 days,” he says. “The last time they passed a budget, LeBron James was still playing for his original team and Oprah was still on TV.”