WASHINGTON Feb 28 The U.S. Senate on Thursday,
as expected, defeated a Republican plan for replacing $85
billion in across-the-board federal spending cuts called
"sequestration," which are set to begin within hours.
The Republican proposal would have given President Barack
Obama two weeks to come up with more targeted spending cuts than
the indiscriminate deficit reductions that are set to hit most
government agencies. Democrats opposed it largely because they
want tax increases to be included in new deficit-reduction
The Senate is also expected to defeat a competing Democratic
proposal for heading off the indiscriminate spending cuts.