Lawmakers and aides say they do not expect Congress to turn off budget sequestration before April and that negotiations to freeze the automatic spending cuts could drag into May or beyond.
Over the last few weeks, there has been increased speculation that the sequester would go into effect Friday but be addressed in a March deal to keep the government funded.
Don’t bet on it.
Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), a member of the Finance Committee, predicted sequestration would last through the end of the year.
“Are we going to roll back the size of the cuts? No. I can promise you that,” said Burr.
President Obama has invited congressional leaders to meet at the White House on Friday, the same day $85 billion in automatic cuts are due to begin. However, congressional sources do not anticipate a deal at that gathering or any time soon.
“It’s going to be one last attempt at trying to convince Republicans of the need for a balanced approach to sequester before the deadline,” said a senior Senate Democratic aide.
CONTINUED at The Hill.