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Panel: Status quo election may still help avoid sequestration

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The Nov. 6 elections largely affirmed the status quo in terms of President Obama, a Democrat-controlled Senate and a Republican-led House, but this may help prod lawmakers into making budgetary concessions especially in the face of sequestration, said an Nov. 7  Brookings Institution panel.

Isabel Sawhill, co-director of the Center on Children and Families and the Budgeting for National Priorities Project at Brookings, said that the economy is in a recovery and will continue to improve, as long as the sequestration is dealt with quickly. "The beginnings of a good deal" is already in place, she added.

Thomas Mann, a senior fellow of governance studies, says this potential for a deal should not be viewed as the two political parties coming together. The parties "don't want to work together beyond the immediate fiscal problem."

Sawhill agreed and said  not to expect change or new legislation beyond emergency fiscal relief efforts in the near term. "We must allow for a period where things are messy" as the Republican party reorganizes.

A consensus among the panel was that pre-existing party lines and fiscal concerns played a very large role in the 2012 elections, but that outside money did not. Panelist Jonathan Rauch, a contributing editor to National Journal and The Atlantic, said "Super PACs and big money had very little impact on this election."

For more:
- watch or listen to the Brookings panel discussion

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