After months of political wrangling, today is the day the $85 billion, across-the-board spending cuts known as the sequester will go into effect at 11:59 p.m. The Senate on Thursday failed to pass two last-minute efforts to forestall the cuts.
The first measure, put forward by the Senate Republican leadership, would have given President Barack Obama broad discretion to implement the $85 billion in spending cuts over the remainder of the fiscal year. It needed 60 votes to move forward, and it failed by a vote of 38-62
The second measure, put forward by Democrats, also failed to overcome the 60 vote threshold and failed by a vote of 51-49
. The bill would have replaced the across-the-board spending cuts with a mixture of other cuts and tax increases.
The president has spent the week highlighting what the cuts will mean - from cutting funds to our nation's first responders to causing longer lines at the airport due to loss of funding for the Transportation Security Administration.
On Sunday, the White House released a state-by-state breakdown of the sequester's effects. According to the numbers released by the White House, approximately 27,000 civilian Department of Defense employees in Alabama would be furloughed and around 2,110 fewer children would receive vaccines for diseases due to reduced funding for vaccinations of about $1444,000. Alabama would also lose about $472,000 in funding for job search assistance and training resulting in 16,600 fewer people able to get the skills and assistance they need to find employment.
To read the full report, click here
. To read the sequester's impact on Alabama, click here
The president and vice president invited Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Speaker of the House John Boehner and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to the White House this morning to work on avoiding the sequester. Today's meeting marks the president's first fact-to-face meeting with congressional leaders to discuss the sequester cuts; however, the meeting lasted only about an hour later with no sign of a breakthrough.