Senate Makes Limp Efforts to Duck Sequester

But 'it's going to happen' despite votes: Rep.

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 28, 2013 6:52 AM CST | Updated Feb 28, 2013 7:22 AM CST

(Newser) – Today, the Senate will vote on two plans that could potentially avert the sequester—but passage doesn't seem likely, USA Today reports. The Democrats' plan, which focuses on a minimum 30% tax on millionaires as well as defense and farm cuts, lacks the 60 votes it would need to dodge a filibuster. The GOP plan would keep cuts but require President Obama to decide where to make them; but the administration won't sign a plan without revenue increases.

Meanwhile, President Obama is set to meet tomorrow with congressional leaders for a last-minute meeting on the issue. But others are saying it's as good as done. The sequester is "going to happen," says Rep. Jim Jordan, a GOP leader. "It’s not the end of the world." The latest from Capitol Hill:

  • Both parties are seeing benefits to the sequester, the New York Times reports. Republicans get cuts, liberal Democrats appreciate a chance to limit defense spending, and Obama gets to talk about other key issues for a while.
  • But Republicans have a new concern, Politico reports: The sequester could give the president vast control over the federal budget, and he could make sure his priorities (ie, ObamaCare) get funding while denying cash to programs he's less invested in.
  • Even assuming the sequester goes through, the wrangling isn't over, the Christian Science Monitor notes. It'll take a few weeks for sequestration's effects to be felt; in the meantime, lawmakers can still work on changing the plan, or dropping it. Negotiations could ultimately become tied to a fight to keep the government running; current funds run out March 27.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nev. makes his way to the Senate floor on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nev. makes his way to the Senate floor on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
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