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Sequestration reconciliation unsuccessful ahead of final meeting later today

The spending cuts once deemed ‘intolerable’ or ‘draconian’ in nature seem to be coming to a reality Friday, as each side posters and braces for damage control as the March 1 date has finally arrived. Despite conflicting partisan sources, the automatic cuts threaten to eventually send poor children home from pre-school, heighten airport security wait times, reduce unemployment benefits and furlough defense workers were the way out of a standoff almost two years ago that put the US on the edge of a debt default.

President Barack Obama is scheduled to meet later today with Republican House Speaker John Boehner and other legislative leaders after all previous attempts have failed to reconcile the political differences over how to reduce the rapidly mounting federal budget deficit. Indeed, the threat of spending cuts hasn’t done any more to overcome Washington’s gridlock, and the two sides instead have remain focused on blaming each other for the austerity measures on the horizon. Rather than negotiate, Republicans have pointed fingers at the White House for coming up with the idea and Democrats have meanwhile accused their opponents of relishing the result.

“The Republicans want the sequester to go forward,” wrote Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat. “They’ve said so, and any efforts at a reasonable approach to this, they won’t let us do it.” Reid also will be in today’s White House meeting, as will Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell and House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi.

On the eve of the session, Boehner reiterated his vehement opposition towards any new tax revenue, a central demand of Obama and Democrats. “How much more money do we want to steal from the American people to fund more government?” Boehner said. “I’m for no more.”

Meanwhile, White House spokesman Jay Carney said the president anticipates a “constructive conversation” with congressional leaders, though not a deal to avert the cuts. Obama remains unwilling to consider a proposal that doesn’t combine cuts with more revenue from taxes, Carney said.

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