Deal to Avert Sequester Appears Unlikely
Posted: 2/21/2013 - 12:42 PM
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February 21, 2013 – With a little more than a week to go before across-the-board cuts hit most federal programs, Congress appears far from a deal that would avert the impending sequester. Last week, the Senate Democrats did unveil a $110 billion sequester replacement package. The bill would raise nearly $55 billion in taxes by implementing the Buffett Rule and changing the tax treatment of oil extraction from tar sands. Additionally, the bill would save $27.5 billion by eliminating agricultural subsidies and another $27.5 billion though defense cuts. It may be voted on as early as Monday, along with a yet-to-be determined Republican alternative. It's unlikely that either package will gain bipartisan support.
Last week the Senate Appropriations Committee held a hearing on the impact of sequestration. Among those who testified was U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. Included in the Secretary's testimony was concern over cuts to the administrative funds for Student Aid programs. These cuts will likely impact FAFSA processing, Pell Grant disbursements, loan originations, and collections. Secretary Duncan's testimony and others may be viewed here: http://www.appropriations.senate.gov/news.cfm?method=news.view&id=02f63d44-4541-4e04-bbb0-75ae7c780e3a.