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'Playing chicken': Tom Brokaw on D.C. dysfunction

The sequester is here.

The sequester is here. Washington was unable to find common ground in order to avert the spending cuts before the deadline, so on Friday President Obama signed the executive order triggering the $85 billion in spending cuts.

Today, both houses of Congress were back in session. President Obama is trying to work with Congress to walk back some of the cuts and replace them with smarter cuts and new tax revenue before they go into full effect. On Thursday, the House votes on a plan to fund the government past March 27, and avoid the looming government shutdown. But with the growing dysfunction that is happening in Washington is there any hope for a compromise?

As NBC’s Tom Brokaw said on Monday’s show, “At the moment what we see is the two sides playing chicken with each other.”

During the show he pointed out how both sides are staking out their claim for the 2014 race and seeing how the sequester can help them come the 2014 congressional races. Mr. Brokaw said, “Republicans are trying to hang on to what they have, they would like the get the Senate. They can’t raise taxes with their base because that becomes toxic for them. The president, on the other hand, wants to demonize the Republican party and use that to energize his base and hope that he can get the House back.” So neither side is willing to budge just yet. However, Tom Brokaw believes that  “as these cuts begin to take effect and they are more draconian than they appear now, and the country begins to really hurt and begins to protest, then they will quickly find a way to get out of it and both will  claim victory.” But for the moment both sides are going to hold their ground and wait for the other to make a move.

Brokaw said that to him, the most puzzling piece of all of this is “that members of this Congress, Republicans and Democrats alike by the way, are going to retire at some point or go home and they will take with them the reputation of the worst congress in the history of the republic in terms of not getting anything done.”