In the end [House Republicans] took about half the cuts up front, with the other half tied to the success or failure of the Super Committee, tasked with securing $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction. The catch was that both parties needed an incentive to deal honestly — so GOP leaders and the White House agreed that if the Super Committee failed, it would result in $600 billion in automatic, across the board cuts to national security spending, and another $600 billion in domestic cuts, taken mostly from Medicare providers. With both Democratic and Republican sacred cows in line for slaughter, surely, the Super Committee members would reach a compromise.They didn’t.Immediately after the Super Committee failed in November, rank and file Republicans began a campaign to swap out only the defense cuts with other spending cuts — no tax increases.
This kind of a power play only works if the other side lets it work. An effective political party would make negotiating in bad faith a liability. But the Democrats can reliably snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. My hunch is the GOP will prevail on the basis that Democrats don't want to be seen as 1) fiscally irresponsible and 2) troop haters.