Opponents of sequestration are losing hope that the across-the-board cuts to federal spending will be reversed this year.

The defense industry, health and education advocates and federal worker unions say that the “piecemeal” approach that Congress adopted this week to ease furloughs at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) does not bode well for their cause.

“All of this is rearranging the deck chairs. I’m not overly hopeful,” said Joel Packer of the Committee for Education Funding. “We are really putting our concentration on fiscal 2014 and beyond.”

Republicans and conservative groups see the White House as having “caved” this week on the FAA cuts, and are digging in their heels to keep the level of spending reductions in place.

“I think Democrats are in a corner,” said Andy Roth of the conservative Club for Growth. “It is a case-by-case deal now.”