The sequester put in place last year was supposed to be so unpalatable that both parties would have to come to an agreement. But House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) tells the Wall Street Journal that, now that tax increases are dealt with, the defense cuts in the deal don't scare him.
He has significant Republican support, he said, for letting the defense cuts (along with drastic domestic spending cuts) take effect. "I got that in my back pocket," he said. The sequester is "as much leverage as we're going to get" to force Democrats to cut entitlement spending.
President Obama, he argued, was more worried about the sequester's effect. "It wasn't until literally last week that the White House brought up replacing the sequester," Boehner said. "They said, 'We can't have the sequester.' They were always counting on us to bring this to the table."
Boehner also previewed his plan for the fight over the debt ceiling. Both he and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) say they will refuse to even discuss raising taxes again, and the speaker won't give up a demand that every increase in the debt limit be equally matched by spending cuts.