Consequences of failure laid out in budget fight
WASHINGTON – A new plan by Senate Democrats to head off severe spending cuts in two weeks got an icy reception from Republicans on Thursday as administration officials stepped forward to lay out the biting consequences that could come if no deal is reached soon: thousands of air traffic controllers sidelined, on-and-off idling of meat plants nationwide, slashed food aid and nutrition education for low-income women and children, locked gates at wildlife refuges, 10,000 laid-off teachers and much more.
As part of their solution to the impasse, Democrats are proposing a minimum tax on the wealthy, a nonstarter with the GOP, as well as cuts to much-criticized farm subsidies and more gradual reductions in the Pentagon budget than will happen if the automatic cuts, known as sequester, kick in. Republicans vowed to kill the Democratic legislation when a vote is called the week of Feb. 25 – just days before the across-the-board cuts would start to slam government operations and the economy.
Release of the plan set off a predictable round of bickering in a capital that remains at a loss over how to prevent the sequester, even as more and more details on the impact of the cuts are being released by panicked agency heads.
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