There is broad agreement that allowing the sequester -- automatic spending cuts set to go into effect March 1 -- to go into effect would be disastrous. And yet, like fresh growth after a forest fire, both parties see a way to benefit from all the economic destruction. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that if the sequester goes into effect, 1 million people will lose their jobs. The across-the-board defense cuts mean, according to military reports posted by the Free Beacon, that the military will have to do very unpleasant things, like cutting substance abuse and sexual assault response programs from military bases, and cutting the civilian jobs that often employ military families. Both Republicans and Democrats think the anger over job losses in the defense industry will help them regain a majority on in the house of Congress in which they're currently the minority.
Congressional Democrats hope to take out Republicans who have military bases in or near their districts. "The DCCC is circulating a list of Republican members who represent districts where defense and domestic cuts could cause lasting damage and help turn the seats from red to blue, or at least force the GOP to spend money it didn’t plan on spending," Politico's Darren Samuelsohn reports. There are 10 names on the list.
And, though GOP aides insist it has not been openly discussed, there could be political advantage if Republicans let Congress pass the delayed sequester deadline. Some of the states that get the most federal discretionary money, defense or domestic, also are home to some of the 2014 cycle’s vulnerable Democrats, Sens. Kay Hagan of North Carolina, Mark Warner of Virginia and Mark Udall of Colorado.
Republicans are being pulled in two directions over the sequester: between the budget-cutters, like the Club for Growth, who'd rather see the it go into effect and the military and defense industry people who desperately want to stop it. The Democrats are planning to single out loopholes for unsympathetic things like Big Oil in their demands more revenue in a sequester-averting deal. But both sides seem a little less worried about letting the cuts go into effect.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.