Democrats and Republicans in the U.S. Congress are nowhere near a plan to avert $1.2 trillion in spending cuts about two weeks before they are set to begin.
It’s the latest in a series of fiscal deadlines created by Congress that in the past two years took the U.S. to the brink of a debt default, a government shutdown and middle-class tax increases that neither party wanted. Unless lawmakers act, the across-the-board spending reductions will begin March 1.
Senate Democratic leaders plan this week to outline a $120 billion proposal, including new tax revenue, to delay the cuts for 10 months.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Republicans are willing to let the automatic spending cuts go into effect “without closing a single tax loophole or asking millionaires to contribute a single penny.”
The Pentagon’s military and civilian leaders appeared before the Senate Armed Services Committee yesterday to outline what they called the worst possibilities if the automatic budget cuts take effect.