Senate Republicans have offered legislation crafted by Sens. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and James InhofeJames InhofeFeds to consider renewed protections for bird species Trump’s nominees may face roadblocks ‘Covert propaganda’ in federal rulemaking MORE (R-Okla.) as their alternative to the sequester due to take effect Friday.
The bill grants the Office of Management and Budget flexibility to implement $85 billion worth of spending cuts scheduled for fiscal year 2013.
Some Republicans argue the administration already has this power but lawmakers from both sides have characterized the sequester as a “meat-axe” approach that would cut programs across the board.
The Toomey-Inhofe plan would require the same amount be cut from federal programs but would give Obama authority to replace cuts to defense with cuts from elsewhere in the budget.
It explicitly prohibits a tax increase.
The Senate will vote on it tomorrow along with a Democratic plan and both are expected to fall short of the 60-vote threshold. Several Republicans could vote against the GOP alternative.
Some Republicans complain that it gives too much authority to Obama. Sen. Thad CochranThad CochranGOP senators voice misgivings about short-term spending bill Trump's wrong to pick Bannon or Sessions for anything Bottom Line MORE (R-Miss.), the former senior Republican on the Appropriations Committee, said he would “probably” vote against it for that reason.
Sen. John McCainJohn McCainA Cabinet position for Petraeus; disciplinary actions for Broadwell after affair Meet Trump’s ‘mad dog’ for the Pentagon Wrestling mogul McMahon could slam her way into Trump administration MORE (R-Ariz.), a leader on defense issues, has also raised objections because the bill would likely not stop a more-than-$40 billion reduction in defense spending.
Senate Republicans debated at lunches on Tuesday and Wednesday over what sequester alternatives to propose. McCain and Sens. Lindsey GrahamLindsey GrahamA Cabinet position for Petraeus; disciplinary actions for Broadwell after affair Pentagon should have a civilian chief to give peace a chance Lawmakers eye early exit from Washington MORE (R-S.C.) and Kelley Ayotte (R-N.H.) proposed an alternate plan to reduce the defense cuts to $10 billion.
“I don’t care how flexible you want to be, the top-line numbers don’t add up to me on defense. That’s my problem," Graham told reporters after a contentious GOP meeting Tuesday.
Sens. Lamar AlexanderLamar AlexanderKey Republicans ask Trump to keep on NIH director McConnell tees up medical cures bill Speculation and starting points: accreditation, a new administration and a new Congress MORE (R-Tenn.) and Susan CollinsSusan CollinsSenators crafting bill to limit deportations under Trump Cornyn: ‘Virtual certainty’ Sessions and Price will be confirmed Trump's wrong to pick Bannon or Sessions for anything MORE (R-Maine) proposed another alternative, as did Sen. Rand PaulRand PaulGOP rep: Trump has 'extra-constitutional' view of presidency The ignored question: What does the future Republican Party look like? Rand Paul skeptical about Romney as secretary of State MORE (R-Ky.), according to a senior GOP source.
Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidTrump gets chance to remake the courts Democrats local party problem Trump flirts with Dems for Cabinet MORE (D-Nev.) and Republican Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellDriverless car industry embraces Trump’s Transportation pick Trump flirts with Dems for Cabinet Lawmakers eye early exit from Washington MORE (Ky.) entered into an agreement before the Presidents’ Day recess to give Democrats and Republicans each one vote on a sequester alternative.
McConnell this week asked Reid to allow votes on multiple Republican proposals but Reid declined the request.