The sequester that was never supposed to happen and then never supposed to last is apparently not going anywhere.
Three weeks after an across-the-board cut that’s supposed to lop $85.4 billion off this year’s budget took effect, people in D.C. are finally coming to terms with the reality that it is the law of the land. Regardless of how painful the cuts to various defense and non-defense programs are/aren’t/will be/won’t be, enough officials clearly view them as a necessary evil to keep them around.
On Tuesday, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters that the sequester would likely be locked into place this week until at least September.
“A decision was made by Republicans not to entertain the idea of a temporary delay in the sequester deadline that would have been purchased with a balanced plan much as had been at the end of 2012,” Carney said (via TPM). “We would obviously welcome a change of heart by Republicans, but there’s no indication from Republicans that such a change of heart is forthcoming.”
Republicans, after initially supporting taking some sort of action to avoid the sequester, quietly withdrew their objections when they realized that a.) The public didn’t really view the cuts as negatively as the Obama Administration would have liked them to, and b.) The cuts actually did shockingly little to deal with the debt problem anyway.
“[T]he timeline for that, obviously, is a little prolonged because it involves regular order and the budget process underway in the Congress, in both the House and the Senate, as well as the conversations and meetings that the President has been having with lawmakers, and that lawmakers have been having among themselves,” Carney continued. “So it certainly looks as though the sequester will remain imposed for some time unless Republicans have a change of heart about the decision to impose it.”
Translation: Get used to the sequester, it’s not going anywhere.