You know sequestration; that's the mechanism that Congress and the White House agreed to last year when they negotiated the Budget Control Act to keep Republicans from wrecking the global economy by refusing to raise the nation's debt ceiling. The sequestration means automatic cuts to both the Pentagon and domestic spending if Congress doesn't come up with some other solution by the end of the year. From the get-go, Republicans have been screeching about the Pentagon cuts, and have forwarded ideas like slashing funding for food stamps for the next decade in order to keep a few precious weapons systems around.
McCain's amendment, of course, is focused on defense spending. He wants to direct the Office of Management and Budget to do an audit of the defense cuts. Murray's amendment is an attempt to broaden the debate, to point out that there's a helluva lot more that will be hurt by the austerity fad than the Pentagon.
“As we continue working toward a balanced and bipartisan replacement to the automatic cuts that both Democrats and Republicans agree are bad policy, my amendment will make sure Congress understands exactly how the Administration would enact sequestration if we can’t come to a deal,” Murray said in a statement. “My amendment calls for an examination of all of the automatic cuts, not just one piece of them. Sequestration would slash across a broad swath of our federal budget—from the Pentagon, to our border security, to education funding, and to the support middle class families and the most vulnerable Americans depend on in this tough economy.”Both amendments (numbers 2455 and 2162 on the list) will require a 60-vote threshold to pass. Which means neither of them will. But what the Murray amendment will do is put Republicans who vote against it on the record as not particularly giving a shit about the cuts that will actually hurt real people who aren't defense contractors.