Wednesday, March 6, 2013
The Obama administration and congressional Republicans are quietly working in tandem to blunt the impact of short-term spending cuts that kicked in with dire White House warnings last week, with both sides eager to pocket the full savings for deficit reduction as they pivot to a new clash over Medicare.
The overall size of the cuts remains in place: $85 billion in reductions through Sept. 30 -- half from defense and half from domestic programs as diverse as education, parks and payments to doctors and hospitals treating Medicare patients.
But legislation drafted by House Republicans to prevent a government shutdown on March 27 also gives the Pentagon and the Veterans Affairs Department flexibility to allocate cuts that no agency currently has. A vote on the measure was arranged for Wednesday.