The much-discussed slowdown in the rate of growth of federal spending called sequestration goes into effect when the clock turns to March 1, so I decided to ask a number of people on Capitol Hill what is actually going on in the last few hours before the super-controversial spending measure becomes a reality. Are people frantically trying to avoid what the administration claims will be devastating cuts? Are they negotiating? Are they yelling at each other? Hiding under their desks?
Answer: None of the above. In fact, nothing much is going on, because sequestration really is about to become a reality. And on the Hill, that means business as usual.
“Seems pretty standard,” says one House aide of Thursday night at the Capitol.
“Nothing to report from here,” says a Senate aide. “Wish I had a good story to share.”
“Nope,” says another Senate aide. “No votes until next week.”
“I suspect most folks will be flying home tonight,” says still another. “You probably noticed there’s a meeting of congressional leaders with the president at the White House tomorrow. Don’t expect anything but a photo-op. There won’t be any 11th-hour deals, though the president will undoubtedly try to pull Republicans into one. Republicans may have been divided somewhat on the vote today, but they’re united in the view that the sequester won’t be replaced with tax hikes.”