Washington is bracing itself for a sweeping, painful set of across-the-board spending cuts, because lawmakers doubt they'll be able to come up with a deal to avert them, the Washington Post reports. While proposals are in the works to avert what's known as sequester, party leaders don't see a compromise emerging before the March 1 deadline. Harry Reid is considering delaying them yet again, the Wall Street Journal reports, but is insisting that such a delay come with more tax revenue and spending cuts attached.
Republicans say more revenue is out of the question, and they're not desperate to avoid sequester. While the cuts were devised as a Sword of Damocles that would force a compromise, the emerging consensus is that they wouldn't be so bad, harming the economy and rattling markets only a little. The sequester "is the only cuts we've got right now," John Cornyn says. Paul Ryan recently echoed the sentiment, saying sequester would make Republicans less likely to shut down the government when the budget expires March 27. (Read more sequester stories.)