Senate Republicans are mulling a proposal to cancel the $85 billion in automatic sequester cuts and shift power onto President Obama, granting him the authority to make the cuts–and take the fall–himself.
The plan comes with just days until the March 1 deadline on the sequester, the Washington-speak term for draconian, automatic budget cuts. But Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont is calling the plan a political ploy as congressional Republicans maneuver to shift the blame on Obama.
“It’s a game,” Sanders told Jansing & Co. ”The president himself becomes the bad guy, he owns the sequestration. He’s the guy who’s blamed for cutting defense or Head Start.”
President Obama will host a White House meeting with leaders of both houses on Friday, in a last-ditch attempt to prevent the sequester. The meeting would be the first for top Republican and Democratic leaders to meet in-person this year.
According to a new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll released Tuesday, 52% of Americans feel the automatic spending cuts are a bad idea, leaving only 21% who support the sequester. The poll also showed Obama with a far stronger political standing with the public, as only 29% of respondents say they agree “with most” of what Republicans have offered.
“The American people are on our side,” Sanders said. “Republicans in this case are representing the very wealthy against the interest of the American people.”