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The Democratic National Committee's new video: #StopTheSequester
With seven days to go until America's Next Manufactured Fiscal Crisis™ is set to kick in, here's an update on the latest news and developments on the looming automatic spending cuts known as the sequester:
  • President Obama called House Speaker John Boehner and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell yesterday to talk about budget issues, but there's no expectations that a sequester replacement deal will be agreed to by March 1.
  • The administration continues to believe that a Grand Bargain is possible and that the opportunity to achieve it will present itself at some point this year. Certainly, there are many Republicans who would like to strike such a deal, but as long as the House remains dominated by right wingers whose real goal is to dismantle, not preserve, social insurance programs, a Grand Bargain will be elusive.
  • As you can you see at the top of the post, Democrats are out with a new video highlighting media coverage of the economic damage that would be caused by the sequester. Yesterday, Republicans released a deceptively edited video designed to blame President Obama for the sequester.
  • Speaking of the blame game, Republicans are losing it badly.
  • As Greg Sargent writes, "both sides" are not equally to blame for the refusal to compromise. Yes, both sides created the sequester, but the only reason the sequester was created in the first place was that Republicans refused to negotiate over revenues while simultaneously refusing to raise the debt limit without spending cuts. President Obama, for better or worse, has wanted a Grand Bargain all along.

As we'll see below the fold, there are some signs of GOP division, Politico has more heartburn, and the smallest victims of sequestration will be impoverished four-year old kids.

Intro

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  • A growing number of Republicans would prefer a Grand Bargain to sequestration, but they remain outnumbered by the GOP's in-house lunatics.
  • Peggy Noonan is feeling vibrations again.
  • The White House doesn't want the sequester impasse to freeze progress other important initiatives like gun control and immigration.
  • Politico seems to be concerned that President Obama has "there has been no discernible effort by the White House to work on a bill that might pass." Of course, what's really going on—and I think at least one of the Politico reporters who worked on the story understands this—is that the president is trying to use the bully pulpit to create the political conditions that would allow a deal to be struck.
  • Local newspapers are beginning to notice the sequester will cause economic damage in their area.
  • And, finally, if the sequester moves forward, 600,000 poor mothers and children who receive support from the Women, Infants, and Children program will be cut from the benefit roles and the cuts will primarily hit four- and five-year old kids.. This will likely be seen as good news by Ayn Rand fans like Rep. Paul Ryan. After all, as Newt Gingrich says, if it weren't for liberals and their love for stupid child labor laws, these youngsters could be working as janitors in local schools, and kicking them off WIC is a critical step towards the goal of teaching them how rewarding it is to earn a paycheck.
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