Congress faces the deadline this week for averting the across-the-board federal spending cuts known as the sequester. Meanwhile, the nation's governors came to town for their annual meeting, and two local governors used the moment to stress their common interest in preventing the cuts from going into effect. David Hawkings, editor of the CQ Roll Call Daily Briefing, talks about the latest details behind the March 1 deadline.
On Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley and Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell talking about the sequester on CBS's Face the Nation Sunday: "It's one thing in which they agree, quite simply, which is they're annoyed that both of their states would take some of the biggest hits to their economies under this sequester. The Washington region -- for the obvious reason that it's the center of the federal government -- would be hit harder under the sequester than any other region in the country. But it's important to note that their agreement that the sequester shouldn't go through essentially ends there. They hardly agree at all on what should be done to replace it."
On O'Malley and McDonnell raising their national profiles for the 2016 election, and what they're doing to achieve that: "That's an excellent point. What the public sends is a mixed signal on what they want in a national leader. Sometimes the political bases want ideological hardliners. But the independent vote -- he or she says they want people who can get along across the aisle. So if there's an opportunity for a Democratic governor and a Republican governor to go on TV together to look like they're forming a united front and say that they can work across the aisle, that works to both of their benefits. But again, I reiterate, O'Malley would have a very different way of replacing the sequester. It would almost certainly involve a kind of tax increases that Obama is talking about, than would McDonnell, who would almost certainly favor entirely the kind of spending cuts to entitlements than the Republicans favor."
On Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine saying Congress needs to get rid of the gimmicks and get back to normal budget writing, and whether this will be the end of countdowns: "Oh no, I think countdowns will be with us for as long as you or I will be covering Washington. I often say that members of Congress act a little bit like high school students. They do best when there's a hard deadline. They get most of their term papers written and their tests studied for when there's no turning back, when a failing grade is going to be given out. So deadlines focus the mind for all of us."
Listen to the full analysis here.