GOP senator fires warning shot to Dems on stimulus measures

A senior Senate Republican is pushing to offset any stimulus measure that is included in a “fiscal cliff” deal.

Sen. Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsRhode Island announces plan to pay DACA renewal fee for every 'Dreamer' in state Mich. Senate candidate opts for House run instead NAACP sues Trump for ending DACA MORE (Ala.), the top Republican on the chamber's Budget Committee, said in a letter to congressional leaders that an extension of policies like the payroll tax cut, the so-called Medicare “doc fix” and expanded unemployment insurance would push spending levels above what was agreed to in last year’s deal to raise the debt ceiling.

“Offsets for any of these changes must also be achieved through real savings, not gimmicks like counting baseline savings from future war spending that is not expected to occur,” Sessions wrote in a letter dated Tuesday.

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Sessions also said in the letter — which he sent to Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerSpeculation mounts, but Ryan’s job seen as safe Boehner warns Trump: Don't pull out of Korea-US trade deal GOP Rep: Ryan wasting taxpayers dollars by blocking war authorization debate MORE (R-Ohio), Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidThe Memo: Trump pulls off a stone-cold stunner The Memo: Ending DACA a risky move for Trump Manchin pressed from both sides in reelection fight MORE (D-Nev.), Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSenate passes 0B defense bill Overnight Health Care: New GOP ObamaCare repeal bill gains momentum Overnight Finance: CBO to release limited analysis of ObamaCare repeal bill | DOJ investigates Equifax stock sales | House weighs tougher rules for banks dealing with North Korea MORE (R-Ky.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) — that policymakers need to hold to the amount of spending restraint agreed to in last year’s agreement.

“Congress must reorganize and reprioritize these cuts, but we must not retreat from the overall amount Congress agreed to and that the president signed into law,” the Alabama senator wrote. 

After the reelection of President Obama and Democratic gains in Congress, top Democrats like Sen. Chuck SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerSenate Dems hold floor talk-a-thon against latest ObamaCare repeal bill This week: Senate wrapping up defense bill after amendment fight Cuomo warns Dems against cutting DACA deal with Trump MORE (N.Y.) argued that any deal to avoid the looming spending cuts and tax increases should include measures to stimulate the economy. 

In recent weeks, leading Democrats have more openly discussed adding a third year of the payroll tax cut, which many around Washington had assumed would be allowed to expire at the end of the year. 

But Sessions’s letter underscores that congressional Republicans are likely to resist putting any stimulus measures into a year-end deal.

Administration and congressional staffers have been discussing the fiscal cliff this week following the meeting last week between Obama and the congressional leaders at the White House.