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Republican Effort to Reverse Budget Sequester Likely Pushed to Next Year

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  • December 4, 2011
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It is looking more and more likely that congressional efforts to undo the dramatic cuts in defense spending triggered by the debt-reduction supercommittee’s failure to reach a deal will wait until next year.

Last week, House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said he plans to use the fiscal 2013 budget resolution to replace the sequester — which results in $54.7 billion in automatic defense cuts that year — with a comprehensive deficit reduction plan. His goal would not be to waive the need to cut the nation’s debt, but to shift some of the military’s $500 billion burden to other parts of the federal budget.

“I’m not for turning the sequester off. I oppose that. I’m for replacing the savings in a way that’s smarter,” Ryan told Reuters. “There’s a very good case this goes too far in defense” spending cuts, he said.

Any plan to overturn or adjust the government-wide $1.2 billion sequester would require agreement across both parties and both houses, as President Obama has stated he would veto any effort to nullify the automatic spending cuts.

Meanwhile, a Pentagon press briefing made clear that budget officials are ignoring for now the possibility that the department may have to find $55 billion in additional savings in 2013.

“And when it comes to sequestration, we have not been asked to plan for it.¬†Our focus right now is on dealing with the more than $450 billion we’ve already agreed to in cuts. And that will drive the submission of the department’s FY ’13 budget,” Press Secretary George Little said Friday.

Little also indicated that Defense Secretary Leon Panetta will provide a preview of the results of the department’s strategic review of its roles and missions in early January.

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