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GOP’s anti-tax focus trips Dems in budget battle
Politics » Liberals see situation as a “missed opportunity.”


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While most Americans support a mix of budget cuts and tax increases to reduce the deficit, McKenna said, they realize the payroll tax rose in January, along with the tax on incomes above $450,000.

With the deficit-spending battles apparently cooling for a while, Congress can focus more heavily on immigration, gun control and other issues.

At a glance

Obama goes around Republican leaders

Washington » With Republican leaders in Congress forswearing budget negotiations over new revenues, President Barack Obama has begun reaching around them to Republican lawmakers with a history of willingness to cut bipartisan deals.

Obama has invited about a dozen Republican senators out to dinner Wednesday night after speaking with several of them by phone in recent days, according to people familiar with the invitation. And next week, according to those people and others who did not want to be identified, he will make a rare foray to Capitol Hill to meet separately with the Republican and Democratic caucuses in both the Democratic-controlled Senate and the Republican-controlled House.

The New York Times

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Congressional Republicans say they’re confident that few if any changes will be made to gun laws. As for immigration, most are taking a wait-and-see approach.

Many conservative activists oppose "amnesty" for illegal immigrants. But Republican strategists say the party will struggle to win presidential elections unless it improves its relationship with Hispanic voters, many of whom see immigration as important symbolically and substantively.

House Republicans "are so caught up in the sequester thing, they’re not thinking four weeks down the road," McKenna said.

For now, they seem content without a grand strategy, and some Democrats are wincing.

Democratic consultant Jim Manley, who confers often with Obama aides, said those aides feel the president used his fiscal cliff leverage to his advantage on Jan. 1. But on the sequester, they concede that Republicans returned the favor and had the upper hand, Manley said.




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