All eyes in Washington are understandably focused on House Republicans and whether they will be able to unite behind a strategy for resolving the upcoming fiscal battles.
Will Republicans fight Obamacare on the continuing resolution or the debt limit? What is their biggest priority, cutting spending or defunding/delaying Obamacare? We don't yet know the answers to these questions.
But what about the other side? What do Democrats want? What do they hope to accomplish over the next three months. The Washington Post's Greg Sargent spoke with Democrats on Capitol Hill and found their priorities are more spending and higher taxes.
"The view from the Dem side is that the House GOP is currently imploding amid potentially irreconcilable divisions over how aggressively to confront Obamacare," Sargent writes.
"If House Republicans pass something temporarily funding the government at current levels, i.e. $988 billion over 10 years, and Senate Dems demand more — say, at the rate of their $1.058 trillion budget — that ultimately won’t help Dems."
If Democrats demand more spending in a short-term CR, Sargent explains, House Republicans can easily say no and then successfully shift the blame for a shutdown for Democrats.
Instead, Sargent reports, Democrats will probably sign whatever comes out of the House on a short-term CR, as long as it doesn't touch Obamacare. Then they will push hard for a long-term fix to undo the sequester that involves tax hikes. Sargent thinks a small tax hike that undoes one full-year of the sequester is possible.
Whatever else you may think about Majority Leader Eric Cantor's current fiscal strategy, Sargent's reporting shows that the Republican leadership is right about one thing: Undoing sequestration is probably Republicans' biggest leverage point going into the fiscal negotiations.
If any progress is going to be made on delaying Obamacare, it is going to come from undoing the sequester.
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