Reid files cloture on Democrats' sequestration alternative

Reid also allowed for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to introduce a Republican alternative Wednesday.

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The Democratic plan would avoid the $85 billion in automatic spending cuts set to take effect Friday, by raising nearly $55 billion in revenue through closing tax loopholes and cutting spending by an equal amount, though Republicans have said they are not willing to increase taxes.

If the Republicans decide to filibuster the Democratic plan, 60-votes will be needed for passage, meaning neither plan is likely to pass later this week.

Reid also said he hoped the Senate would begin consideration of Jack Lew to be the next Treasury Secretary on Wednesday. The Senate Finance Committee approved his nomination earlier Tuesday on a 19-5 vote.