Obama getting cold feet on sequester?

According to Roll Call, the president wants to kick the sequester can down the road two months:

President Barack Obama supports $2 in spending cuts for every $1 in revenue for a sequester replacement bill, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Friday.

Carney also said the White House was open to a bill that would avert the sequester for as little as two months.

Obama, for his part, said in a press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe that he would continue to talk to members of Congress and the American people as he pushes for a balanced plan to replace the sequester, including revenue from closing loopholes.

"This should be a no-brainer," Obama said, warning that allowing the automatic spending cuts to take effect would slow the recovery, although he said it would not be as harmful to the world financial system as the threat of defaulting on the debt.

As for the odds that Congress will still act, Obama said, "Hope springs eternal."

Carney was asked by reporters about the Senate Democrats' bill -- which would offset the sequester for the rest of the calendar year with half new revenue and half spending cuts split between defense and farm programs.

"Whatever the ratio is in the bill, I would point you to the president's overall approach to this, which has been $2 in spending cuts to $1 in revenue," Carney said.

Carney said the White House wants both the House and the Senate to pass a bill that would avert the sequester in a balanced way next week, and he noted that the fiscal cliff deal averted the sequester for two months. "It could be that" again, Carney said.

Only a total cave in by one side or the other will avert the sequester now. The president is now worried of GOP leverage related to the continuing resolution that is coming up at the end of March. Once the sequester occurs, the clock will begin ticking on a real government shutdown. Obama is going to be forced into negotiations over entitlement reform and probably some kind of tax reform that will close a few loopholes. The makings of a bargain are there, if Obama gives in and agrees to serious reform for Medicare and perhaps even Social Security.

From his point of view, the solution is to extend the sequester deadline so he doesn't have to deal with both the sequester and the threat of a shutdown. But the GOP won't hear of it and the month of March is going to be very interesting.

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