Dem lawmakers urge Obama to stand strong on mandated Defense cuts

A House liberal is leading an effort to urge President Obama to veto any bill that seeks to void additional defense cuts.

Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.), in a letter that soon will go to Obama, states support for Obama's pledge to reject any legislative attempts to void any part of $1.2 trillion in federal cuts that would be triggered if Congress fails to strike a deal to cut that much by month's end.

Half would come from national defense accounts, and the other half from domestic accounts.

A group of senators, including Senate Armed Services Committee ranking member John McCain (R-Ariz.) and panel members Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), said Tuesday they could announce a plan this week that would void the $600 billion in national defense cuts and replace them with other cuts.

But Welch, and the 71 Democratic members who his office said Tuesday have signed on to his letter to the president, want Obama to resist their efforts. Welch's office is still circulating the letter with other members.

"The failure of Congress to act must have consequences," states the letter, obtained by The Hill. "We stand ready to work with you over the next year to put America back on a firm financial footing and will vote to sustain your veto of any effort to repeal all or part of the scheduled sequester."

Ayotte said at a conference Tuesday her group is confident the impact of the $600 billion in cuts would convince a large enough "bipartisan coalition" to pass legislation to undo the national defense cuts.