Obama: I'll veto any legislation that would void Defense cuts

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The congressional debt panel's co-chairmen announced Monday they were abandoning efforts to find $1.2 trillion in federal spending cuts. If lawmakers fail to pass a deal by December of next year, automatic federal cuts of that amount would be triggered — half from national defense. Pentagon leaders and congressional defense hawks say cuts that large over a decade — on top of a 10-year $350 billion reduction already being enacted — would devastate the military.

Before Obama took to the podium, congressional Republicans already had issued statements vowing to cancel out the $600 billion in automatic cuts. House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon (R-Calif.), Senate Armed Services Committee Ranking Member John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Sen. Lindsey Graham all promised to craft plans to void those reductions.

Obama addressed such promises directly, saying he had an answer for them: "No," the president said sternly.

Obama threatened to veto any bill Congress sends him that seeks to void the automatic defense cuts or an equal amount of domestic spending cuts.

"There will be no easy off-ramps on this one," Obama said, adding "we need to keep the pressure up" to find a compromise on a broader debt-reduction plan.

The "only way" the deep automatic cuts will be avoided, the president said, if is "Congress gets back to work."