Reid Sidelines Bill To Pay Down Sequester With War Savings

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) on Wednesday morning sidelined his sequester replacement legislation after an objection from Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), so that the Senate can complete business on the online sales tax bill.

The bill would pay down the sequester for five months using a fraction of the war savings from troop drawdowns in Iraq and Afghanistan. The majority leader has the option to bring it up again later.

“We can stop the flight delays and the pink slips,” Reid said on the floor. “We can stop the devastating cuts to programs that protect low-income children, homebound seniors and homeless veterans. And we can stop the cuts to crucial medical research. But Democrats can’t do it without Republicans’ help.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) railed against the use of war savings, describing it as “the mother of all gimmicks” and “the height of fiscal irresponsibility.”

Reid, smiling, retorted that Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) budgets have included those same savings in their long-term fiscal trajectory, and Republicans overwhelmingly voted for those proposals.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sahil Kapur is TPM's senior congressional reporter and Supreme Court correspondent. His articles have been published in the Huffington Post, The Guardian and The New Republic. Email him at sahil@talkingpointsmemo.com and follow him on Twitter at @sahilkapur.
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