GOP senators to release plan to stop triggered defense cuts

Five Republican senators will release their plan Thursday morning to stop as much as $500 billion in automatic cuts to defense spending slated to take effect in 2013.

The senators — Jon Kyl (Ariz.), John McCainJohn McCainOvernight Cybersecurity: Flynn refuses to comply with Senate subpoena | Chaffetz postpones hearing with Comey | Small biz cyber bill would cost M | New worm spotted after 'Wanna Cry' US should keep leading the global economy, not close off borders Putin aide slams McCain: Thank God he doesn't shape foreign policy MORE (Ariz), Lindsey Graham (S.C.), John CornynJohn CornynOvernight Cybersecurity: Flynn refuses to comply with Senate subpoena | Chaffetz postpones hearing with Comey | Small biz cyber bill would cost M | New worm spotted after 'Wanna Cry' Trump budget to call for 0 billion in Medicaid cuts Senate Intel leaders: 'We will vigorously pursue' Flynn testimony MORE (Texas) and Kelly AyotteKelly AyotteWeek ahead: Comey firing dominates Washington GOP senators pitch Merrick Garland for FBI director Kelly Ayotte among candidates to be FBI director: report MORE (N.H.) — did not release details of their legislation ahead of the press conference Thursday. The bill's title, “Down Payment to Protect National Security Act of 2012,” suggests that the bill will change the sequestration cuts for only a short period, and not wipe out the full $500 billion cut over 10 years.

That would follow a similar proposal from House Armed Services Chairman Buck McKeon (R-Calif.), who introduced a bill in December to undo the first year of sequestration cuts to both defense and non-defense spending by trimming the federal workforce over 10 years by 10 percent.

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McKeon’s proposal, however, was panned by Democrats, who say that the sequestration should not be changed unless tax increases are on the table.

Senate Armed Services Chairman Carl LevinCarl LevinDemocrats and Republicans share blame in rewriting the role of the Senate For the sake of American taxpayers, companies must pay their fair share What the Iran-Contra investigation can teach us about Russia probe MORE (D-Mich.) said last week that the sequestration should not be split up. By taking it on the whole, Levin said, it will have its intended effect of forcing a deal on the $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction needed to do away with the full sequester.

Levin predicted that the GOP would change their staunch opposition to raising taxes in order to erase sequestration.

Republicans argue that the Pentagon budget is already taking a $487 billion hit in the next decade that was agreed in the debt deal, and the military would be decimated if there were another $500 billion in cuts.

While most budget watchers predict nothing will get done on sequestration until after the election in a lame duck session, McKeon, McCain and other Republicans say the Pentagon and defense industry can’t afford the year of uncertainty that would bring.