The Pentagon and defense industry are unconvinced the shutdown fight gives them any more leverage to get rid of the sequester, which is set to take a $20 billion hit to the Pentagon’s budget in January.
Democrats and Republicans want to avoid another government shutdown, and sequester has already been mentioned as a key negotiation item.
Yet this week’s spending deal funding the government until January — the same time a new round of sequester cuts are set to hit — has sparked little hope in the defense world that a broader budget deal can be reached.
“The big game is still about the budget — it’s not about defense, and there’s a strong constituency in the Republican Party to let it rip,” said Gordon Adams, a defense analyst at the Stimson Center.
“In a way sequester is an acceptable second best for everybody,” Adams said. “You can’t convince Republicans to put up taxes, you can’t convince Democrats to put up entitlements, and it’s sequester that absolves everybody of individual responsibility over what happens.”
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