Cantor Backs Calls to Reverse Defense Sequester
Congress should undo the $600 billion in automatic defense cuts slated to go into effect starting next January, even if lawmakers are forced to find the savings to restore DOD’s budget one year at a time, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said Monday.
Cantor conceded that Congress likely won’t be able to agree this year to a deficit-reduction package to offset the entire amount of the sequester imposed on defense spending through 2021, reported the Hill newspaper.
“So if 10 years is a problem, then let’s go back and maybe we can find one year’s worth of pay-for that can at least stave off the sequester from being implemented Jan. 1, 2013, so that maybe we can have this election take place and be able to avoid it,” Cantor said.
Cantor’s statement could indicate that the Republican leadership of the House would support the proposal introduced by House Armed Services Chairman Howard “Buck” McKeon (R-Calif.) to postpone the government-wide sequester until fiscal 2014 by trimming the federal workforce.
That bill, H.R. 3662, would reduce the federal workforce by 10 percent over the next decade through attrition, saving $127 billion. The savings would offset the automatic spending cuts on defense and other agencies slated to take effect in January 2013 as a result of the debt supercommittee’s failure last fall to agree on a deficit reduction plan.
So far, the measure has failed to attract support from the House leadership.