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Congress: Senate GOPers split on possible sequester fix

“Days before the March 1 deadline, Senate Republicans are circulating a draft bill that would cancel $85 billion in across-the-board spending cuts and instead turn over authority to President Barack Obama to achieve the same level of savings under a plan to be filed by March 8,” Politico reports. “The five- page document, which has the tacit support of Senate GOP leaders, represents a remarkable shift for the party. Having railed against Senate Democrats for not passing a budget, Republicans are now proposing that Congress surrender an important piece of its Constitutional ‘power of the purse’ for the last seven months of this fiscal year.”

Roll Call: “A split among Senate Republicans over what to propose as a substitute for the sequester has complicated plans for Senate votes this week on competing GOP and Democratic deficit reduction proposals. A GOP plan to grant federal agencies more flexibility to implement $85 billion in fiscal 2013 spending cuts worries some Republicans, who fear the White House would use the measure to circumvent congressional budgeting authority.”

“It’s seems like we’ve been here before,” Politico writes. “It’s midweek in Washington, a budget deadline looms on Friday that’s sure to cause some measure of havoc around the country and both sides are busy posturing in front of inanimate or human props. But this fight is different from other fights: There is no urgency to solve it.”

“They beat him up for months — in TV ads, in op-ed pages and in Congress, with delay after delay before his confirmation on Tuesday,” Politico reports. “But now that Chuck Hagel is set to take the top job at the Pentagon on Wednesday, many of his Senate opponents seemed ready to mend fences just hours after trying to derail him.” (The quotes from GOP senators are worth the read.)

Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX) just keeps saying stuff. The New York Daily News on a YouTube chat between him and Ted Nugent, who was his guest at the State of the Union. "Do you feel that the people that Obama have brought forward to hear his speech, do you feel like they are useful idiots or props in this?" Stockman asked of gun-violence victims. Nugent: "I'm sure it is a two-edged sword, cuz' our hearts go out to victims of crime. But it is never a result of lack of gun regulations."

So much for that fight, guys… Politico: “House Republicans seem to be resigned that their version of the Violence Against Women Act is a loser with their own members and are likely to pass the Senate bill this week without changes. The GOP leadership has set up a floor process that would allow the chamber to vote on the Senate bill if they cannot pass their own version of the domestic violence legislation.”

Roll Call: “The House is expected to give in to Democratic pressure Thursday and pass the Senate version of the Violence Against Women Act after failing to find a substitute that can garner the support of a majority of its members.”