House Republican Staffers Will Learn To Talk About Mandatory Spending Cuts

An “opportunity to help staff stay on offense,” a House Republican aide says.

Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

WASHINGTON — House Republican staffers will receive a crash course Friday in talking about mandatory spending cuts set to take effect March 1.

According to an email invitation, the meeting will instruct aides in “strategic messaging” about the so-called “sequester,” which lawmakers increasingly concede will likely be allowed to take effect.

“This is an opportunity to help staff stay on offense about the devastating cuts as we enter district work period next week and approach the deadline,” a House Republican leadership aide said.

Staffers will be instructed to emphasize that the White House first conceived of the sequester, and they will be urged to hit Democrats for not acting to replace it, the aide said.

The meeting is part of a series of Republican “conference staff huddles,” organized “to help members and their staff understand issues in order to effectively and successfully communicate their message and policy goals to their constituents and the American people,” according to the email.

The mandatory cuts aren’t an easy sell: They will splice roughly $85 billion from the federal budget in the next year alone and could kill 750,000 jobs by the end of the year.

Many Democrats and Republicans alike oppose the cuts, and each party has launched attacks to pin blame for the idea on the other. Congress approved the sequester in 2011 as part of a compromise to raise the debt limit, and then extended it for a few months at the beginning of this year.

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