In a hearing Thursday that was arranged by Democrats and attended by no Republicans, experts in education, health care and defense warned of what they believe will be dire consequences of sequestration cuts and urged lawmakers to find a solution. U.S. defense and the economy will see "great, and in some cases, very permanent harm" if the cuts go through, said Marion Blakey, president and CEO of the Aerospace Industries Association, speaking at the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee on Capitol Hill. The GOP, meanwhile, said Democrats' insistence on tax hikes as part of a sequester fix has stalled progress.

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