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WSJ green lights GOP on defense spending cuts


Adjusting to the political bind they've found themselves in, Republicans plan on voting today to allow the federal government to continue borrowing money to pay its bills through mid May.

The GOP's hope is that the delay will allow them negotiating time with Democrats and the White House on entitlement reform before automatic domestic spending cuts (sequester) take effect. The sequester, an agreement previously reached by both parties, will affect both entitlements (which Democrats don't want) and defense (which Republicans don't want).

The Wall Street Journal editorial board says the GOP should bite the bullet let the sequester happen if they must:

Such strategic thinking isn't sitting well with some conservatives who seem to enjoy marching into the fixed bayonets. And then doing it again, and again. The critics are right that this is a retreat from Mr. Boehner's 2011 "rule" that the GOP will only raise the debt limit by as much as Mr. Obama agrees to cut future spending over 10 years. But Mr. Obama isn't going to agree to that, and the GOP hasn't done nearly enough to prepare the public for such a showdown. ...

The bigger test for Republicans will come when the sequester kicks in and begins to squeeze defense. We agree this will do genuine harm, but at least the sequester will show that Washington can cut some spending. And there's zero chance Mr. Obama will concede on anything unless his own coalition feels real pain. As Commander in Chief, Mr. Obama also has a duty to protect national security.

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