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Lawmakers try to diffuse budget cuts

Jan. 17, 2012 at 11:20 AM

WASHINGTON, Jan. 17 (UPI) -- Republicans and some Democrats, concerned about the automatic U.S. budget cuts set for 2013, are working to undo the spending cuts this year, lawmakers said.

Because the 12-member supercommittee failed to agree on a $1.2 trillion deal to cut the deficit, sequestration, or automatic spending cuts, affecting defense and domestic programs equally will trigger in 2013.

"I'm very concerned about the defense cuts in sequestration, but it's also the cuts to non-defense discretionary [that] are also devastating," Sen. Joe Lieberman, Ind-Conn., told Politico. "Ultimately, I think there's a very strong feeling that it's not going to go into effect."

President Obama, saying there will be "no easy off ramps on this one," pledged to veto any measure that would override the automatic cuts unless Congress gives him a "balanced" plan to cut the deficit.

A George Mason University study indicates if the defense cuts go forward as planned, more than 1 million jobs could be lost in one year, Politico reported Tuesday. Cuts would be equally painful for domestic programs: The National Education Association estimated more than 71,000 education-related jobs would evaporate in 2013.

House Speaker John Boehner has said "no one really wants to go there" on the spending cuts and that Obama must work with Congress to find a way to avoid them.

Legislative proposals to block the cuts already are circulating in the House and Senate.

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