WASHINGTON -- Retiring Congressman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) spilled a few beans on Sunday morning when he said a majority of Democrats would sign off on a deal to lessen the military cuts that will result from the super committee's failure.
Appearing on ABC's "This Week," the Massachusetts Democrat was discussing the irony that, for the first time in recent memory, legislative inaction now favors his party. If Congress does nothing, by the end of 2012 the Bush tax cuts will expire and the defense budget will be slashed by $600 billion (the latter being part of the cuts that were triggered because of the super committee's inability to reach a deal). This would, Frank predicted, compel Republicans lawmakers to compromise. And on the defense cuts, they would find willing partners across the aisle.
"I'd be ready to live with the military cuts in the sequester," Frank said. "But I think there would be a majority of Democrats saying, 'You know what, we want some military reductions. We don't need to continue to protect Germany against Stalin. But we will compromise.' So I think what we are going to see this year, because of the consequences of inaction, is an unusual situation where there will be action on both an amendment to the sequester and to the taxes."
With Frank declining to run for reelection, his usual candid style has become even more forthright. But while amending the defense budget portion of the sequester may seem like the logical end game as Congress weighs its impact in the months ahead, President Obama and his aides have been absolutely adamant that he will veto any such move.