Cuts imminent, Senate rejects stopgap efforts

Squabbling away the hours, the Senate last night swatted aside last-ditch plans to block $85 billion in federal spending reductions as President Barack Obama and Republicans blamed each other for the gridlock and the administration readied plans to put the sequestration cuts into effect, reports the Associated Press. So entrenched were the two parties that the Senate chaplain, Barry Black, opened the day’s session with a prayer that beseeched a higher power to intervene. “Rise up, O God, and save us from ourselves,” he said of cuts due to take effect sometime on March 1. On the Senate floor, a Republican proposal requiring Obama to propose alternative cuts that would cause less disruption in essential government services fell to overwhelming Democratic opposition, 62-38. Moments later, a Democratic alternative to spread the cuts over a decade and replace half with higher taxes on millionaires and corporations won a bare majority, 51-49, but that was well shy of the 60 needed to advance. Republicans opposed it without exception.  So it appears that school leaders will have to brace for what could be devastating cuts to services that affect mostly poor and minority students…

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