DC Download: Sequestration edition

(LIN) — Round and round we go. Where we stop, nobody knows.

The current blame game between the GOP and President Barack Obama has had a fair amount of time in the spotlight, and don’t let the “game” part fool you – it’s not very fun to watch.

The looming sequester slated for March 1 means $85 billion in automatic, across-the-board cuts, and neither side seems to want to take responsibility for it.

On Wednesday, Obama called congressional Republicans out for not coming to an agreement on how to come up with an alternative to the sequester. The president made his plea among a crowd of first-responders, whose jobs could be on the line if Congress fails to deliver a solution.

"So far at least, the ideas that the Republicans have proposed ask nothing of the wealthiest Americans or the biggest corporations," Obama said. "So the burden is all on the first responders, or seniors or middle class families."

But House Republicans beg to differ.

They have made proposals to avert the looming cuts, including changes to tax codes by eliminating loopholes and tax subsidies.

House Speaker John Boehner responded to Obama’s Wednesday statement, pointing the finger back at the president.

“Spending is the problem, spending must be the focus,” Boehner said. “To keep these first responders on the job, what other spending is the president willing to cut?”

The highlight of Boehner’s response was the emphasis on who the sequester belongs to in the first place, stating “Today the president advanced an argument Republicans have been making for a year: his sequester is the wrong way to cut spending.”

So whose sequester is it anyway?

House Republicans say because the idea for the sequester came from the White House in 2011, the sequester is actually Obama’s idea in the first place.

Obama places the blame on congressional Republicans because they haven’t come up with a feasible plan to cut spending in the past two years.

Neither side is quiet about what steps they are taking to save political face.

The White House announced Thursday that Obama made calls to both Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. The likely topic: Avoiding the sequester cuts.

"(Obama) had good conversations, but I have no further readout of those calls for you," White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters at his daily press briefing Thursday.

In the final week leading up to the sequester deadline, we can expect to see many more public displays of finger pointing and attempts to make a deal.

Who’s winning the blame game? It appears that Obama is currently on top according to a new survey by the Pew Research Center and USA Today.

In this survey, conducted Feb. 13-18, Obama is holding the upper hand politically over congressional Republicans in the sequester blame game. With 1,504 adults chiming in, 49 percent say congressional Republicans would be to blame if March 1 passes and there’s no deficit deal reached. Only 31 percent would blame Obama.

It’s hard to say who the real winner is if sequestration happens.

One thing is clear:  The biggest losers will be the Americans affected by the extreme across-the-board cuts.

DC Download is a week-in-review featuring the latest news from Capitol Hill published every Friday. Get the latest political news at onPolitix.com, and join in the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.

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