While the Washington Post reports this afternoon that Congress is considering pushing off all cuts under a new deal to avert the fiscal cliff, top Republicans say that is absolutely false. The sequester cuts will either go through now, as written, or they will be replaced for no more than two to three months to be more specifically calibrated to avoid the blunderbuss across-the-board cuts largely affecting defense.
During that delay time, cuts equivalent to the cuts that would have happened under the sequester will take place. In short, the same amount will be cut under either deal; the only question is whether the blunderbuss approach happens immediately, or whether short-term cuts are made over the next two months to allow for a more scalpel-like approach.
Top Republicans say they have no interest in changing the size of the sequester. Republicans are insisting on cuts and/or deficit reduction of equal size during the period in which the sequester cuts are delayed.
The proposal currently on the table is reportedly cuts and deficit reduction through elimination of tax giveaways for two months–a grand total of $24 billion in total spending cuts–before a fully-calibrated sequester proposal kicks in.
Democrats are reportedly holding up that process. They want all spending cuts delayed. In fact, they are currently rejecting cuts they had already agreed to in principle in order to force Republicans to abandon the sequester. That will not happen, Republicans say.