Reid has been working with three committee chairmen — Max Baucus of Montana on Finance, Barbara A. Mikulski of Maryland on Appropriations and Patty Murray of Washington on Budget — to develop a plan to avert the spending cuts through Sept. 30, and also avoid additional cuts through the end of December.
While Democrats debate Reid’s plan for both spending and tax revenues and a proposal by liberals to offset the sequester only by ending some tax breaks, Senate Republicans are expressing dissatisfaction with both proposals — as well as doubt about the House GOP plan from the last Congress.
Cornyn said he doubted he would support any of the three proposals if Reid put them on the floor, because, he said, all of them would replace immediate spending cuts with offsets financed over the next decade.
“The offset has to happen the same year that the sequester is delayed,” he said.
Cornyn said he would favor “reordering the sequester so that it’s not strictly across the board,” such as Sen. James M. Inhofe, R-Okla., recently suggested with a measure that would have given the Pentagon flexibility to deal with spending cuts.
Although Republicans oppose the use of tax hikes to replace automatic cuts, liberal Democrats such as Boxer are pushing for a sequester replacement plan based entirely on revenue from closing what they consider corporate tax loopholes.
Reid expressed general support for the initiative led by liberal Democrats Carl Levin of Michigan and Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island that would end some corporate breaks to offset the sequester, but made clear that he planned to combine that with spending cuts. “We could easily avert these cuts by ending wasteful tax breaks for corporations, giveaways to companies that ship jobs overseas,” Reid said. “A balanced approach would prevent the damage of the so-called sequester.”
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.