gop shield pentagon from triggered cuts
Last Updated : GMT 22:20:07
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GOP: Shield Pentagon from triggered cuts

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today GOP: Shield Pentagon from triggered cuts

Washington - UPI

Budget cuts triggered if the congressional supercommittee fails to slash $1.5 trillion in U.S. debt must be altered to spare the Pentagon, GOP lawmakers said.The $1.2 trillion in automatic spending cuts to lessen the federal deficit -- set to take effect in January 2013 if no budget deal is reached by Wednesday -- \"need to be reconfigured\" to shield the Pentagon from a projected 10 percent cut, Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction member Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., said on the CBS News program \"Face the Nation.\"Toomey was among a number of members of the bipartisan committee appearing on Sunday talk shows to concede the talks on a grand budget deal were near failure and to blame members of the opposite party for failure-creating irreconcilable differences.\"This marriage is over,\" a statement from the six-Republican, six-Democrat panel is likely to say in essence Monday, Politico reported Sunday.A deal effectively needs to be concluded by midnight Monday to meet the panel\'s parliamentary rules to have it approved by Wednesday, the legal deadline for an agreement before the automated cuts are to be imposed.But Republican lawmakers said the government programs and departments affected by the automatic cuts could be changed before the cuts take effect to safeguard the Pentagon.The cuts -- which the Congressional Budget Office estimates would also shrink domestic programs 7.8 percent and Medicare 2 percent -- are \"done in a way that would be very harmful to our nation\'s defense,\" Toomey told CBS.\"Our own defense secretary, Leon Panetta, has said that they would hollow out our military,\" he said. \"So I think it\'s very important that we change the configuration but that we not abandon the spending cuts because we need them.\"Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, the 12-member committee\'s GOP co-chairman, said the same thing on \"Fox News Sunday,\" using many of the same words.Americans could \"get the deficit reduction that they were promised,\" but adjusted over the next 13 months to be \"smarter, more prudent,\" he said.Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., who is not a deficit committee member but is a Tea Party movement member pushing the government to cut the deficit, told CNN\'s \"State of the Union\" the defense cuts were not really cuts because the overall Pentagon budget would still increase, just by less.\"This may surprise some people, but there will be no cuts in military spending, because we\'re only cutting proposed increases,\" he said. \"If we do nothing, military spending goes up 23 percent over 10 years. If we sequester the money, it will still go up 16 percent.\"With the debt committee set to throw in the towel, committee members on both sides of the aisle sought to fault the other party for the lack of a deal.\"It\'s not assigning blame, but we are unaware of any Democrat offer that didn\'t include at least $1 trillion tax increase on the American economy,\" Hensarling said.\"As long as we have some Republican lawmakers who feel more enthralled with a pledge they took to a Republican lobbyist than they do to a pledge to the country to solve the problems, this is going to be hard to do,\" committee Co-chairwoman Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., said on CNN\'s \"State of the Union.\"She was referring to a no-new-taxes pact some Republicans signed at the request of a conservative anti-tax group. She and other Democratic lawmakers argued the American public realized no grand deal could be reached without combining spending cuts and new tax revenues.The White House urged the committee Sunday to make difficult choices needed complete its task.\"Avoiding accountability and kicking the can down the road is how Washington got into this deficit problem in the first place,\" White House spokeswoman Amy Brundage said in a statement. \"So Congress needs to do its job here and make the kind of tough choices to live within its means that American families make every day.\"

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