The Senate this afternoon rejected competing bills offered by the Democrats and Republicans to avoid sequestration , erasing nearly all hope of avoiding the $85 billion of across-the-board cuts in defense and domestic programs scheduled to take effect this weekend The GOP’s plan that would have shifted responsibility for the cuts to the president while giving Congress the final say, only received 38 votes. The Democrats’ plan, which included a mix of spending cuts and revenue increases, received 51 votes, but that was nine short of the 60-vote super majority needed to pass.
Lawmakers have until midnight Friday to reach an agreement with the president before the cuts begin to kick in. . Though little hope remains, congressional GOP and Democratic leaders will meet with the president at the White House Friday afternoon, in one last attempt to reach a sequester solution. - Read more at The Washington Post
MORE YOUNG AMERICANS BEHIND ON STUDENT LOAN PAYEMENTS Around 35 percent of Americans with student loans under the age of 30 have fallen behind on their loan payments, up from 26 percent in 2008, according to a new report released today by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. - Read more at The Wall Street Journal
THE ECONOMY DIDN’T SHRINK AFTER ALL! Don’t get too excited, but revised data from the Commerce Department shows that the economy grew by 0.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012, instead of contracting by 0.1 percent, as was reported last month. Of course, 0.1 percent growth is basically tantamount to no growth at all, but policy makers will take some solace in the fact the economy didn’t shrink. - Read more at The New York Times