A pair of competing proposals to avoid the budget-slashing sequester died in the Senate Thursday, taking with them perhaps the last real chance to avoid across-the-board spending cuts for government agencies.
Both parties floated bills that amounted to non-starters for the other side, so the measures were never expected to pass.
The Republican proposal would have left the sequester intact while providing the Obama administration with greater flexibility over how to implement the cuts. That measure failed to advance by a vote of 38 to 62, with all but two Democrats opposing it — 60 votes were needed to advance the legislation.
A Democratic proposal would have replaced the automatic reductions with narrower cuts and higher tax revenues. The Senate stopped that measure from advancing in 51 to 49 vote, with several Democrats up for re-election in the 2014 mid-terms voting against it.
Congressional leaders from both parties are set to meet with President Obama at the White House on Friday, the date the sequester takes effect.
For more details about these developments, read the Washington Post’s story on the failed proposals.