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Friday, March 1, 2013

Daily Political Wire

George Wenschhof

Obama to Make Statement on Sequester Talks - 11:35 AM ET


Obama Meets With Congressional Leaders As Sequester Begins - Congressional leaders gathered at the White House on Friday to meet with President Obama on ways to avoid the steep budget cuts known as the sequester, but expectations for the meeting were low.
Ahead of the meeting, which is taking place on the day that the cuts are due to take effect, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) effectively dashed any remaining hopes for a sequester-averting agreement, saying that “there will be no last-minute, back-room deal and absolutely no agreement to increase taxes.”

Also participating in the White House meeting are Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.), House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).  The Washington Post has more here.


OMB Issues Memo Providing Guidance To Agencies Facing Budget Cuts - The memo dated Wednesday from Office of Management and Budget Controller Danny Werfel says that OMB now estimates a 9 percent cut to affected domestic agency budgets and a 13 percent cut to defense.
It also makes clear that the White House is giving agencies leeway in implementing the cuts.

“Agencies' planning efforts must be guided by the principle of protecting the agency's mission to serve the public to the greatest extent practicable. Planning efforts should be done with sufficient detail and clarity to determine the specific actions that will be taken to operate under the lower level of budgetary resources required by sequestration,” Werfel wrote.

For the first time, OMB emphasizes that agencies should look to restrict hiring, employee bonuses and travel to meet the budget goals. has more here.


Next Budget Crisis is March 27 When Continuing Resolution Ends - Attention now immediately shifts to how Congress can avert a potentially calamitous government shutdown on March 27, when a stopgap continuing resolution, or CR, expires.

In an interview Thursday evening, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Democrats would wait to see what the House produces before making decisions on how to proceed on the CR.

Asked about his talks with House Speaker John Boehner on the issue, “We’ve talked about the CR, he’s going to have to make a decision on what they’re going to do. At this stage, at least as far as I know, I don’t know if they know what they’re going to do.” has more here.


Obama Asks Supreme Court To Reject California Ban on Gay Marriage - In a forceful argument, the administration claimed that denying gay couples the right to marry violates the Constitution’s equal protection clause. It said that proposition 8, the state’s ban on same-sex marriage, should be subjected to “heightened scrutiny” — a tough test for any law — and stated flatly that “Proposition 8 fails heightened scrutiny.” The NY Times has more here.


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