Senate Democrats are officially proposing to pay down about a year of the sequester with new legislation called the American Family Economic Protection Act.
The plan would raise $55 billion in new revenue, largely by imposing the so-called Buffett rule, which would phase in a minimum effective tax rate requirement for taxpayers who earn more than $1 million a year.
The bill would pair those revenues with $55 billion in spending cuts, divided equally between defense and farm subsidies. The defense cuts would be phased in through the beginning of next decade, corresponding to an expected troop drawdown in Afghanistan.
Senate Republicans are expected to unanimously oppose the legislation, demanding that the sequester be paid down with domestic spending cuts alone.
But as March 1 approaches, the pressure will build on both parties to reach an agreement to at least delay, if not fully repeal or replace the sequester. And to direct some of that pressure on to House Republicans, House Dems today introduced similar legislation to pay down the sequester, tilted more heavily toward new tax revenues than spending cuts. The House bill would wipe out about 10 percent of the sequester by implementing the Buffett rule, repealing subsidies for big oil and gas companies, and cutting farm subsidies.
Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight, and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.