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Congress: All show on sequester

“House Republican leaders seem to have averted a potential rift in the conference, garnering wide support for a continuing resolution that will move as soon as next week,” Roll Call reports. “GOP leaders called a Wednesday afternoon meeting to brief members on the strategy for the CR, where Speaker John A. Boehner urged members to continue fighting in unison, on Capitol Hill and in their districts, to keep the sequester’s spending cuts in effect.”

And check out this quote. Boehner said this to the group, per Roll Call: “We’re on the side of the angels.”

“The Senate is expected to defeat Thursday competing Democratic and Republican alternatives to the $85.3 billion in automatic spending cuts scheduled to begin Friday,” Roll Call writes.

David Rogers: “Washington’s Great Sequester pregame show ends in the Senate on Thursday with Republicans still divided over how to disarm the doomsday budget machine they built in the previous Congress with Democrats and President Barack Obama. Obama will be waiting at the White House on Friday to meet with House and Senate leaders, even as his Office of Management and Budget works next door toward meeting the midnight March 1 deadline to put the cuts in motion.”

Some Democrats want a $10.10 minimum wage, not the $9 President Obama called for. Sen. Tom Harkin to The Hill: “Well, we’re going to introduce our own bill on it. I’m going to be in discussions with them because I think they missed the mark, but people make mistakes.”

Legislating from the bench? Antonin Scalia yesterday on why the Voting Rights Act continues to pass and be reauthorized: “This last enactment, not a single vote in the Senate against it. And the House is pretty much  the same. Now, I don't think that's attributable to the fact that it is so much clearer now that we need this. I think it is attributable, very likely attributable, to a phenomenon that is called perpetuation of racial entitlement. It's been written about. Whenever a society adopts racial entitlements, it is very difficult to get out of them through the normal political processes. I don't think there is anything to be gained by any Senator to vote against continuation of this act. And I am fairly confident it will be reenacted in perpetuity unless -- unless a court can say it does not comport with the Constitution.”

Here’s the transcript.

Civil rights legend Rep. John Lewis didn’t take too kindly to Scalia’s comments. Lewis said on MSNBC: “It was unreal, unbelievable, almost shocking, for a member of the court to use certain language. I can see politicians and even members of Congress — but it is just appalling to me.”

“While Republican leaders continue to talk – and talk – about how best to update the party’s hard-line image, one of the country’s most prominent conservative outside groups is ready to put real money into the effort,” Politico writes. “The American Action Network is poised to launch a major advocacy campaign aimed at winning support for immigration reform on the right – the first significant effort within the Republican coalition to create an atmosphere in which it is safe for GOP lawmakers to support an immigration bill.”