Senators block dueling proposals to stop sequestration

On Wednesday, Toomey asked for unanimous consent to pass S. 799, but Sen. Dick DurbinDick DurbinOpioid package clears key Senate hurdle Overnight Healthcare: Feds defend ObamaCare's affordability DNC chief spared in Sanders-Clinton talks: report MORE (D-Ill.) objected.

Senators are pointing fingers as to who is to blame for the nearly $85 billion spending cut going into effect this fiscal year. Lawmakers have become more vocal in their complaints about sequestration since the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced that it has started furloughing thousands of employees, causing flight delays across the country.

Toomey said the administration is “willfully” making cuts that affect the public in order to make a political point that government spending shouldn’t be reduced.

On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidSuper-PAC targets Portman on trade Dem leader urges compromise on FCC set-top box plan Senate Dems introduce Iran sanctions extension MORE (D-Nev.) tried to pass S. 788, a bill to replace the $85 billion automatic spending cuts known as the sequester with funds the Pentagon has said it has saved from drawing down the U.S. troops in Afghanistan. Republicans objected, saying it was an accounting “gimmick.”

After Durbin objected to Toomey and Inhofe’s plan, he asked unanimous consent to pass S. 788 once again. Toomey objected.

“This is barely an accounting device,” Toomey said Wednesday. “This says that we do away with sequester, we borrow more and we just pretend that it’s offset.”

Reid said his plan would stop the “painful” cuts for the next five months, giving lawmakers time to work on a long-term solution.

The Senate already voted and rejected Toomey and Inhofe’s flexibility plan before sequestration took effect on March 1.

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