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Effort to Undo Automatic Budget Cuts on DOD Faces Difficult Odds

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  • January 17, 2012
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The chances for success of an attempt by House Republican members of the Armed Services Committee to reverse the automatic cuts on defense spending of up to $500 billion through fiscal 2021 appear low, reports CQ Today.

A proposal introduced by House Armed Services Chairman Howard “Buck” McKeon (R-Calif.) that would postpone government-wide spending cuts until fiscal 2014 by trimming the federal workforce has not yet attracted support from the House leadership. The measure, H.R. 3662, has gained 25 Republican co-sponsors, with most of them serving on the Armed Services Committee, according to the story.

Still, lawmakers have the rest of the year to come up with a deficit reduction plan to replace the sequester on defense spending. Progress on such a deal likely won’t come until after the presidential election in November. President Obama has said he would veto any attempt to nullify the automatic spending cuts that doesn’t produce the required $1.2 billion in government-wide savings.

McKeon’s proposal would reduce the federal workforce by 10 percent over the next decade through attrition, saving $127 billion. The savings would equal 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 to agree on a deficit reduction plan.

Acting now would provide the Defense Department another year to plan for the sequester, McKeon said last month. Otherwise officials would have to start planning almost immediately for a $55 billion reduction in FY 2013.

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