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Republican Senators’ Plan Would Undo Defense Sequester in FY 2013

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  • February 2, 2012
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A group of Republican senators unveiled legislation Thursday that would postpone government-wide spending cuts until fiscal 2014 by trimming the number of federal civilians by 5 percent through attrition.

The plan would reverse the first year’s portion of the automatic spending cuts — $55 billion on both defense and non-defense programs — slated to go into effect next January. The congressional debt supercommittee’s failure last fall to agree to a deficit reduction plan triggered sequestration, which imposes a total of $500 billion in reductions in defense spending through 2021.

Democrats opposed the plan, however, maintaining that any deal to nullify the sequester must include tax increases, reported the Hill newspaper. A group of 127 Democrats sent President Obama a letter Thursday pressing him to reject legislation to undo the sequester on defense spending, according to the story.

The Senate measure — introduced by Sens. Jon Kyl (Ariz.), John McCain (Ariz.), Marco Rubio (Fla.), Kelly Ayotte (N.H.), Lindsey Graham (S.C.) and John Cornyn (Texas) — would reduce the federal workforce by allowing agencies to hire only two employees for every three that leave. It also would extend the pay freeze for federal employees through June 2014. It has no Democratic co-sponsors.

The plan is similar to the one announced in December by House Armed Services Chairman Buck McKeon (R-Calif.), H.R. 3662, which would reduce the federal workforce by 10 percent over the next decade to offset the added spending.

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