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Repealing Automatic Cuts Not an Option, House Democrats Say

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  • December 15, 2011
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House Democrats made it clear Thursday they will not cooperate with a Republican effort to undo the automatic spending cuts scheduled to slash the Pentagon’s budget starting in January 2013.

In a letter to President Obama, 92 House Democrats said they support his pledge to veto any legislation that attempts to reverse the looming $500 billion in defense cuts triggered by the supercommittee’s failure to agree on a deficit reduction plan.

“We write in full support of your view that the sequester scheduled to take place on January 2, 2013, should not be repealed or amended absent an agreement to reduce deficits that meets or exceeds the amount to be sequestered,” the lawmakers wrote.

Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.), who sponsored the letter, said many Democrats support the objective of shielding the DOD budget from severe cuts, but stated that new revenues need to be part of any plan to replace the budget sequester, reported the Hill newspaper.

The Democrats’ move follows two new Republican initiatives to nullify some or all of the automatic spending cuts. On Wednesday, five Republican senators said they would propose legislation next year to undo the $500 billion in across-the-board defense cuts by trimming discretionary spending of other agencies, relying on savings proposals from previous deficit-reduction exercises.

And on Thursday, House Armed Services Committee Chair Howard “Buck” McKeon (R-Calif.) revealed his plan to override the first year of automatic cuts to both defense and non-defense spending through savings realized by cutting the federal workforce by 10 percent through attrition.

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