If President Obama's attempts to pressure Republicans into a sequester deal are having any effect, the GOP is doing a good job of hiding it. The battle lines remain exactly where they started—President Obama won't accept a plan without revenue hikes, and Republicans won't accept revenue hikes—and Republicans tell the New York Times they feel politically impervious in the showdown and have no intention of caving. They'll pass a stopgap spending bill to avoid a government shutdown, but it won't touch the sequester.
The GOP's confidence comes in part because they think they've covered their bases with a bill that would shift cuts from the military to social programs like food stamps, and in part because gerrymandering has left few Republican reps vulnerable to Democrat challengers. Besides, Obama "already got his tax increase” in the fiscal cliff deal, says one GOP rep. Some top Dem aides in the Senate tell the paper they fear they've got a weak hand, lamenting that Obama didn't strike a better deal on New Year's. (Read more sequester stories.)