No Deal in Washington as Sequester Deadline Nears

“Obama insists that any deficit-reduction package crafted to replace sequestration contain new tax revenues. Republicans, who were forced to raise taxes on high earners as part of the fiscal cliff deal on New Year’s Eve, are unwilling to do so again. And so […] the two parties have skipped negotiations and swapped salvos and hashtags instead.” –

A Sequester No One Wants

By Alex Altman, Time Magazine (02/25/2013)— By the end of the week, everything changes. Severe spending cuts will unleash waves of devastation across the U.S. Picture air travel snarled. Meat inspections curtailed. National security imperiled. Seventy thousand children booted from Head Start programs, 10,000 teaching jobs jeopardized, disability payments delayed, aid withheld from needy Americans and foreign governments perched on the brink of chaos. Hundreds of thousands of jobs could be lost, and the fragile economy knocked into a tailspin.

This is the nightmare that would unfold, according to Barack Obama and the heads of federal agencies, if Congress can’t forge a deal to evade sequestration, the $1.2 trillion package of spending cuts over the next decade that is set to kick in March 1. The sequester was designed to be so disastrous that would it would force Washington’s warring factions to the bargaining table. But what was once an unthinkable result has come to seem inevitable. This time there is little hope that dealmakers will swoop in with an 11th-hour reprieve. With the deadline looming four days away, the question enveloping the capital is not whether the sequester will happen, but rather how bad it will be. [MORE]