McConnell introduces GOP alternative to sequester cuts

Before the Senate adjourned Wednesday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) introduced the Republican alternative to sequestration. 

The Senate will vote Thursday on both a Democratic and Republican plan to avert the $85 billion in spending cuts, which take effect Friday, but neither plan is expected to pass.

The Democrats’ $110 billion sequester replacement bill, S. 388, would raise nearly $55 billion in revenue through closing tax loopholes and cutting spending by an equal amount. It would phase in a new minimum tax on those making more than $1 million a year, close corporate tax loopholes, end direct farm payments and delay defense cuts. But Republicans have said that would not support any measure that increases taxes. 

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The Republican plan, S. 16, would instead give the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) more flexibility to implement spending reductions to minimize their effect on military preparedness and other vital government services, such as air traffic control and airport security screening. 

The Republicans were debating which sequester alternative they would propose becauase they were only allowed to introduce one bill under the agreement with Reid. 

On Wednesday, McConnell called up a proposal by Sens. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) that would ensure that no more than half of the $85 billion worth of cuts would come from the Defense Department, and prohibits any tax increases. 

Reid said the Senate leaders would set up a vote time for tomorrow afternoon.