Reid says lawmakers still have time to avert sequester

Reid said that the Senate would vote on at least two proposals to avert the $85 billion in automatic spending cuts by the end of the week. The House would then have to immediately act on the legislation, because the cuts will go into effect Friday.

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Earlier this month, Democrats proposed a $110 billion sequester-replacement bill that would raise nearly $54 billion in taxes and cut spending by $55 billion. The Senate Republican plan has not been revealed, but GOP members have said they are unwilling to accept any tax increases.

Reid said the American people agree with the Democrats’ “balanced approach” and that Republicans in Congress should realize that.

"Once again, the only Republicans rejecting a reasonable, balanced compromise are Republicans in this building — Republicans in Congress,” Reid said.

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have said that the cuts will negatively affect the economy.

“Families and businesses in every state in the nation — in red states and blue states — are at risk because of these haphazard cuts,” Reid said. “Nationwide, sequester cuts will cost more than 750,000 jobs. ... Congress has the power to prevent these self-inflicted wounds. We have the power to turn off the sequester, protect American families and businesses and ensure our national defense.”

Nearly half of the spending cuts will come from the Department of Defense — something many lawmakers have said is dangerous.

Reid and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) are expected to introduce their sequester-replacement plans Tuesday.