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Republican Sens. John McCain of Arizona, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire at the Capitol last month. The senators are among a group invited to dine Wednesday with President Obama. Alex Wong/Getty Images hide caption

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Alex Wong/Getty Images

Under sequestration, federal agencies don't have the flexibility to choose to spare popular programs or services by making administrative cuts elsewhere. Tatiana Popova /iStockphoto.com hide caption

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Tatiana Popova /iStockphoto.com

Will the clouds part, the sun shine and a sequester solution be found? Jason Reed /Reuters /Landov hide caption

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Jason Reed /Reuters /Landov

NPR's Tamara Keith on where things stand

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House Speaker John Boehner held a news conference Feb. 13 in which Republicans promoted the hashtag #Obamaquester to blame President Obama for automatic spending cuts set to kick in March 1. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images hide caption

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Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Obama, accompanied by emergency responders — workers the White House says could be affected if state and local governments lose federal money as a result of budget cuts — speaks in the Eisenhower Executive Office building in Washington on Tuesday. Charles Dharapak/AP hide caption

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Charles Dharapak/AP