GOP lawmakers see automatic cuts as leverage
A senior House GOP aide, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss party strategy, said some Republicans see the sequester as their best opportunity to achieve spending cuts. That strategy, however, is rife with potential to split open the Republican Party and pits the defense hawks against the tea party.
How people would actually react should the across-the-board cuts hit is anyone’s guess. But it’s not lost on anyone with institutional history that Republicans got creamed in a similar situation in 1995-96 when they sparked a partial government shutdown under the leadership of House Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga.
On Tuesday, Senate Majority Harry Reid, D-Nev., said the warring parties should try to figure it all out, but he set up a clash with Republicans over using new taxes to fix the problem.
Reid said the sequester cuts should be replaced ‘‘in short increments’’ with spending cuts and revenues like repealing oil and gas subsidies, which were discussed in earlier negotiations.
‘‘There are many low-hanging pieces of fruit out there that Republicans have said they agreed on previously,’’ Reid said. There’s a lot of things we can do out there, and we’re going to make an effort to make sure that there is — sequestration is — involves revenue.’’