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 SessionsFederal judge rules Trump defunding sanctuary cities 'unconstitutional on its face' FBI informant gathered years of evidence on Russian push for US nuclear fuel deals, including Uranium One, memos show Alabama election has GOP racing against the clock 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 BoehnerTrump's pick for Federal Reserve chief is right choice at right time The two-party system is dying — let’s put it out of its misery One year later, neither party can get past last year's election MORE (R-Ohio), Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidVirginia was a wave election, but without real change, the tide will turn again Top Lobbyists 2017: Grass roots Boehner confronted Reid after criticism from Senate floor MORE (D-Nev.), Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellAlabama election has GOP racing against the clock McConnell PAC demands Moore return its money Klobuchar taking over Franken's sexual assault bill 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 SchumerJuan Williams: The politics of impeachment Texas Republicans slam White House over disaster relief request Dem rep: Trump disaster aid request is 'how you let America down again' 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.