As Cuts Loom, The Political Forecast Is Mostly Hostile, With A (Slim) Chance Of Unity

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After days of private strategy sessions, Republicans and Democrats are poised this week for the same kind of ugly partisan combat over spending and taxes that's spawned fiscal chaos and sent Congress' approval ratings plunging. Democrats will paint a grim picture of how federal services would be sharply curtailed -- and millions would be affected -- if a planned $85 billion in automatic spending cuts go into effect March 1. Republicans will argue just as passionately that while some might suffer, smart, targeted spending reductions would be a reasonable alternative, and that raising more taxes is hardly the answer.

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