The Cycle, 2/28/13, 7:00 PM ET

Survive the sequester, but prep for government shutdown?

Yes, the sequester cuts are bad – but they’re also going to be phased in and reversible. The Cycle hosts spin on why we should be less focused on the sequester, and more focused on the next disaster: government shutdown.

The sequester is here. When will you feel it?

The sequester countdown is over.  President Obama and congressional leaders failed to reach a deal to avoid the dramatic budget cutbacks of $1.2 trillion. As S.E. pointed out on Friday’s show, it is “rare to see a strategy clearly implemented by the White House not pan out the way [Obama] wanted it to.”

The cuts won’t likely be felt on Monday morning. Washington will still be going to work; there will be no downgrade of our national credit rating; social security checks will still be issued; the government is not shutting down. If Washington cannot reach a deal by March 27, when the current funding for the federal government runs out, then expect immediate fallout. 


So what do Republicans need to make a deal? Steve said Friday that the burden is on the Republicans to pass a continuing resolution bill to keep the government open and funded.”Chances are overwhelming it will be draconian,” Steve said. “It will not involve any of the compromise Obama is looking for, any revenue component, it will just be strict spending cuts.” But if this is the case, Steve said, President Obama may not sign any legislation that the GOP put on his desk. Ergo, shutdown.


While analysts are predicting we won’t feel the impact for a few months, Americans are deeply involved in the debate. Just before the sequester deadline, a Gallup poll showed that 60% of Americans were paying attention to what was happening in Washington–and 45% wanted a deal. 


A Pew Research Poll conducted prior to March 1 shows that 45% of those surveyed blame the Republicans for there not being a deal while only 32% blame President Obama. And an NBC/WSJ poll shows that only 29% have a favorable view of the Republican party. So the GOP may feel pressure to get a deal done before the public dislike gets any deeper. 

Steve, in his latest piece,  said, “that’s the kind of political toxicity that [Speaker] Boehner needs to sell any kind of a deal to his fellow Republicans–one that would give some ground on revenue, incur the wrath of the right, pass mainly with Democratic voters and (ideally for Boehner) allow the Speaker to hold on to his to his title.”

The sequester is here. When will you feel it?