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Senate can't agree on sequester alternative

By Will Lewis, Reporter, WLewis@wfmz.com
Published On: Feb 27 2013 06:00:00 PM CST
Updated On: Feb 28 2013 06:15:17 PM CST

It's not looking good.

WASHINGTON, D.C. -

It's not looking good.

Washington has let it fester, the sequester.

Now barring an 11th hour save, $85 billion in across the board cuts go into effect Friday.

Both the Democratic and Republican plans failed to get enough votes in the Senate Thursday afternoon which means barring any last minute deals we are one step closer to the sequester cuts.

Pennsylvania Republican Senator Pat Toomey says he's disappointed that lawmakers have waited this long to discuss an alternative to the sequester.

“This is certainly among the very most important issues that we're grappling with, should be grappling with as a Senate, as Congress, as a federal government,” said Toomey.

Under the Republican plan introduced by Toomey, there would be no tax increases and no cuts to the nation's defense.

The plan calls for President Obama to find the $85 billion from other programs.

“Look for the programs that are working least well or not at all," said Toomey. "Look for areas where there is waste and inefficiency.  Look for redundancies and that's where we are going to trim a little bit and we'll hit these goals."

“It validates the sequester," said U.S. Senator Bob Casey. "It says that the sequester is ok as long as you allow some flexibility. To me that makes no sense.”

Democrats like Senator Bob Casey say they have a plan that includes cuts and generates revenue.

“The cuts we have on our alternative, at least half of them have already been agreed to," added Casey. "They're part of the Farm bill that we agreed to in both parties last year.”

The Democratic plan also calls for raising taxes on millionaires.

Neither plan received enough support to pass.

“We've got to stop the sequester so that we can stop the job loss," said Casey.

“This sequester is going into effect," added Toomey. "Nobody here suggest that they have the votes, or they have a way to prevent it.”

There is still time on the clock but if no compromise is reached by Friday President Obama will be forced to order the cuts.