Week ahead: Sequester hits campaign trail

Stopping the sequestration cuts — which both Democrats and Republicans largely support — will be a major issue for Congress when it returns to Washington for the lame-duck session. For now though, they are part of a blame game over who is responsible for the sequester.

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Romney claims that sequestration is Obama’s fault, repeatedly using the phrase “President Obama’s defense cuts.” Democrats, meanwhile, say that sequestration is only still on the books because Republicans won’t compromise on tax increases.

There were some signs last week that willingness to cut a deal could surface once the elections are over.

On Thursday, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said that he’d take “whatever the hell deal they can make right now” to avert the cuts, while three Democratic and three GOP Armed Services Committee senators wrote to the leadership Monday, saying, “We are committed to working together to help forge a balanced bipartisan deficit reduction package.”

While Congress is out of town this week, some lawmakers who work on cybersecurity are returning to Washington for two events on the issue.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is hosting a cybersecurity summit on Thursday, where House Intelligence Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) will speak. Additional speakers for the daylong event include chief of U.S. Cyber Command Gen. Keith Alexander, former Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge and former CIA Director Michael Hayden.

On Monday, the Wilson Center and NPR are holding a forum on “Cyber Gridlock: Why the Public Should Care,” which will take a look at the stalled cyber debate in the Senate and the dangers to the United States of not addressing cybersecurity problems.

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Alexander and ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero will speak at the event.