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 SessionsMadeleine Albright slams Trump over immigration New Hampshire GOP gov: I won’t send National Guard troops to ‘separate families’ Overnight Defense: States pull National Guard troops over family separation policy | Senators question pick for Afghan commander | US leaves UN Human Rights Council 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 BoehnerZeal, this time from the center Juan Williams: The GOP's deal with the devil Hillicon Valley: Trump hits China with massive tech tariffs | Facebook meets with GOP leaders over bias allegations | Judge sends Manafort to jail ahead of trial | AT&T completes Time Warner purchase MORE (R-Ohio), Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidAmendments fuel resentments within Senate GOP Donald Trump is delivering on his promises and voters are noticing Danny Tarkanian wins Nevada GOP congressional primary MORE (D-Nev.), Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellWarren on family separation policy: Trump is ‘taking America to a dark and ugly place’ Senate GOP tries to defuse Trump border crisis Schumer rejects GOP proposal to address border crisis 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. Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerOvernight Health Care — Presented by the Association of American Medical Colleges — Trump officials move to expand non-ObamaCare health plans | 'Zero tolerance' policy stirs fears in health community | New ObamaCare repeal plan Selling government assets would be a responsible move in infrastructure deal Ignore the naysayers trying to disrupt US diplomacy with North Korea 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.