On the endgame for the budget showdown looming in Washington this fall, only this is clear: President Obama thinks Republicans cannot risk another debt crisis or government shutdown, and Republican leaders agree.
In regards to the sequester the Times provided this observation:
Republicans remain adamant that the level of budget cuts required by the sequester, about $90 billion per year, be continued. But with increasing complaints about the effects of those cuts on the Pentagon and elsewhere — shown by House Republicans’ inability to pass their own transportation spending bill last month — some party leaders want to rearrange the burden of those cuts so they fall instead on entitlement programs like Medicare and Social Security.
The White House and Congressional Democrats, however, rule out that trade, except as part of a larger long-term deal that also includes new tax increases. And Republican resistance to tax increases, which has precluded such a “grand bargain” in recent years, has stiffened since the Bush tax cuts for top-earning Americans expired at the end of 2012
As far as an endgame they report an option that would slash domestic spending in FY14 with the hope of additional cuts replacing the next two years of the sequester.
Under one situation sketched out by Democrats, temporary funding for discretionary programs like Pentagon spending would be set just below $1 trillion — closer to the $967 billion in the House Republican budget than to the $1.058 trillion in the Senate Democratic budget.
The aim of negotiations after that would be to come up with new savings approaching $200 billion.
Part of the savings would come from entitlements, but programs like farm subsidies, rather than the more politically volatile Social Security and Medicare. Part would come from new revenues, but “user fees” tied to special government services, rather than broad-based tax increases.
That could allow both sides to tell key constituencies that they did not violate core principles. And it would be enough to replace cuts in military and domestic programs for about two years, without increasing the deficit.