Senate Rejects Dueling Sequester Bills

Senate Rejects Dueling Sequester Bills

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The Senate this afternoon  rejected competing  bills offered by the Democrats and Republicans to avoid   sequestration , erasing nearly all hope of avoiding the $85 billion of across-the-board cuts in defense and domestic programs  scheduled to take effect this weekend  The GOP’s plan that would have shifted responsibility for the cuts to the president while giving Congress the final say,    only received 38 votes. The Democrats’  plan, which included a mix of spending cuts and revenue increases, received 51 votes, but that was nine short of the 60-vote super majority needed to pass.

Lawmakers  have until midnight Friday to reach an agreement with the president before the cuts begin to kick in. . Though little hope remains, congressional GOP and Democratic  leaders will meet with the president at the White House Friday afternoon, in one last attempt to reach a sequester solution.                   -  Read more at The Washington Post

MORE YOUNG AMERICANS BEHIND ON STUDENT LOAN PAYEMENTS   Around 35 percent of Americans with student loans  under the age of 30   have fallen behind on their   loan payments, up from 26 percent in 2008, according to a new report released today by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.            -  Read more at The Wall Street Journal

THE ECONOMY DIDN’T SHRINK AFTER ALL!     Don’t get too excited, but revised  data from the Commerce Department shows that the economy grew by 0.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012, instead of contracting by 0.1 percent, as was reported  last month. Of course, 0.1 percent growth is basically tantamount  to  no growth at all, but policy makers will take some solace in the fact the  economy didn’t shrink.      -  Read more at The New York Times

Brianna Ehley is the former Washington Correspondent for The Fiscal Times. She is currently a reporter on Politico's health care team in Washington, D.C.