Top Senate Republican calls for 2014 sequester replacement

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Committee Democrats, led by Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) will assume that the nine years of sequestration outlined in the August 2011 debt ceiling deal have been turned off. 

Instead of tailoring bills at $966 billion in discretionary funds, the Senate bills will adhere to a $1.058 trillion top line.

The problem with this is that without changing the 2011 Budget Control Act, appropriations bills passed at a level higher than $966 billion will be cut down by sequestration 15 days after this session of Congress ends. This second sequester would likely come in January.

Blunt, in an essay for Reuters, calls on the Senate to accept the lower level enforced by sequestration is here to stay.

“House appropriators have moved us forward by agreeing to adhere to the limit of $966 billion for non-entitlement spending in 2014. This is the maximum amount the law would allow without having to make any across-the-board cuts – in other words, no sequester,” he argues.

“Both sides should now agree that it is better to spend the same amount of money intelligently and deliberately rather than according to the sequester’s mechanical formula,” Blunt writes. 

He says that Democrats need to let go of their “fantasy” that retaining the threat of indiscriminate sequester cuts will force the GOP to raise taxes or allow spending to rise about the $966 billion level.