Senate Democrats aren’t planning a shutdown showdown with Republicans over the sequester, as they prepare to move forward with an omnibus package keeping the government open past March 27, according to three senior Democratic aides.
After both parties’ sequester bills failed in the Senate on Thursday, lawmakers were already looking ahead to the expiring continuing resolution as the next deadline and opportunity to avert or alter the $85 billion in cuts set to go into effect Friday.
But Democratic leaders don’t seem willing to risk a government shutdown by insisting that any funding bill block all of the sequester’s cuts.
Democrats feel they could argue in a shutdown scenario that Republicans were shuttering the government to keep the sequester that their leadership has blamed on President Barack Obama.
“It’s not that we couldn’t win the argument if we had to, it’s that the willingness doesn’t seem to be there” from the White House, one senior Democratic aide said.
Unless the sequester’s effects are truly dramatic in the next three weeks — something no one is expecting — Democrats would be hard-pressed to risk a shutdown to block them, the thinking goes.
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