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Senate rejects sequester bills

This news story was published on March 1, 2013.
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U.S. Capitol

U.S. Capitol

WASHINGTON, Feb. 28 (UPI) — The U.S. Senate Thursday rebuffed two proposals to head off sequestration, meaning $85 billion in automatic spending cuts will begin to roll out.

The Hill newspaper said legislation by Senate Democrats won 51 votes; a Republican alternative won 38.

Either plan needed at least 60 votes to advance, the newspaper said.

Sens. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Mark Pryor of Arkansas and Kay Hagan of North Carolina, all Democrats voted against their party’s bill. All three are up for re-election in 2014.

In a procedural move that would allow the bill to move to the floor in the future, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., switched his vote to “no.”

Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia was the only Democrat who voted for the Republican legislation. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., was among the eight Republicans who voted against the GOP bill, The Hill reported.

The newspaper said the Congressional Budget Office estimates the cuts could cost 750,000 jobs this year.

However, President Obama is scheduled to meet with congressional leaders from both parties Friday at the White House to discuss the sequester.

None of the participants expects the White House meeting to produce a breakthrough, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The cuts — which will run through the end of the fiscal year in September unless lawmakers intervene — are the first of a decade-long plan to cut spending $1.2 trillion for nearly every federal program, except for military personnel and entitlement programs such as Medicare and Social Security.

The cuts were included in the 2011 deal to raise the federal debt limit. They represent between 2 percent and 3 percent of the federal government’s annual $3.5 trillion budget.

Senate Democrats offered an alternative bill that would pay for the sequester through the end of the fiscal year with a combination of a minimum 30 percent tax on millionaires and cuts to defense and farm payments.

“Now, less than 48 hours before the clock runs out, all they’ve offered is a gimmicky tax hike that’s designed to fail,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said on Capitol Hill. “I hope they’re not expecting a round of applause for this particular act of political bravery.”

Senate Republicans had an alternative bill that would have the same $85 billion in budget cuts but put the onus on Obama to determine which programs would be cut.

The White House has said Obama will not support any sequester alternative that doesn’t include a “balanced plan” that includes domestic program cuts and additional tax revenue collected from some corporations and high-income people.

The Republican-controlled House has not offered its own version of an alternative to the sequester cuts.

Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, has said his chamber will only consider an option that has passed the Senate.

The House passed two sequester alternatives near the end of last year’s Congress that didn’t become law.

“We should not have to move a third bill before the Senate gets off their ass and begins to do something,” Boehner told reporters Tuesday.

Copyright 2013 United Press International, Inc. (UPI).

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9 Responses to Senate rejects sequester bills

  1. blog Reply Report comment

    March 2, 2013 at 8:15 am

    It would be almost laughable if it wasn’t so sad that our Dictator Osama Obama who for weeks has been publicly stating the gloom and doom for our nation over a 2% reduction in spending is now saying it probably won’t be as bad and some may not even notice. Also after always blaming congress for the bill his press secretary comes out and admits it was the White Houses idea. He will stop at nothing to gain complete control of this country by creating illusions of class warfare and constant gloom and doom of course all caused by the Republican Party. You think our debt is bad now imagine if he gets control of the House and has no one to question his obsession to punish the well to do for their success and open the check books of the working for the deadbeats so his Socialist society ideals can succeed. This sounds like the actions of a terrorist to me.

    • maybe Reply Report comment

      March 2, 2013 at 8:59 am

      The oath I took in the military was I will uphold and defend the constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign or domestic.

      • LVS Reply Report comment

        March 2, 2013 at 9:32 am

        @maybe-I think it is time we got started defending.

      • maybe Reply Report comment

        March 2, 2013 at 10:20 am

        You can’t defend until you are prepared, and I am still preparing. I know the majority if not all of the local guard unit is ready to defend.

  2. blog Reply Report comment

    March 2, 2013 at 6:16 am

    I’ll stick with Osama Obama. Respect is earned and he gets none of mine.

  3. blog Reply Report comment

    March 1, 2013 at 7:23 am

    You just got your tax hike in January Osama Obama and already pissed that away. So now no cuts under your plan unless you get more of my money to waste. What a knuckle dragger. This meeting is no more than a photo opp so he can say see I tried but those dam Republicans won’t bow down and lick my shoes. Threatened anyone or released any more of those illegals lately in Arizona Obama? On a more positive note the sun did come up today despite the dire warnings of the world coming to an end from the spend-o-crats.

    • a citizen Reply Report comment

      March 1, 2013 at 8:56 am

      @blog – Courtesy suggests President or Mr. Obama. You don’t have to like someone, or even respect them, but there is no reason to act like an ill mannered boor. For all your rantings, he is the elected leader of this country. If you are that upset, why don’t you run for an office and change things. Or rather than post here about how unhappy you are, there are other countries you can move to. I respect peoples right to express their own opinion, but I also respect common sense and common courtesy.

      • Really!!! Reply Report comment

        March 2, 2013 at 12:34 am

        One could say the same about our Mayor. Where’s your manners?

      • yes Reply Report comment

        March 2, 2013 at 4:56 am

        If there was even the slightest chance that obama won the election fair and square I would respect the man, but he didn’t win fair and square, he basicily stole it by cheating and fraud. In my book he is nothing short of a criminal and needs to be arrested. Not to mention the treason which in the military used to be a hanging offense, of course if we say that now we would be called a racist for wanting to lynch a black man. Na we just want an incompetent president out of the WH.