Club for Growth opposes Republican hawks' sequester replacement plan

The fiscally conservative Club for Growth said Friday that it was opposed to the plan put forward by a group of House and Senate Republican defense hawks to avoid the first year of sequestration.

The Republican legislation from House Armed Services Chairman Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) and Sen. Kelly AyotteKelly Ann AyotteThe Hill's Morning Report: Koch Network re-evaluating midterm strategy amid frustrations with GOP Audit finds US Defense Department wasted hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars US sends A-10 squadron to Afghanistan for first time in three years MORE (R-N.H.) would replace the first year of sequestration with a 10-percent reduction in the federal workforce over the next decade.

“Pushing off spending cuts that Congress promised to make is simply wrong,” Club for Growth President Chris Chocola said in a statement. “Fiscal conservatives should insist that the full amount of cuts are made now, and should oppose replacing them with promised cuts that could be abolished by future Congresses.”

Chocola said that House Republicans have already said they are willing to allow sequester should occur, and urged Senate Republicans to “follow their lead.”

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Defense hawks like McKeon and Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainOvernight Defense: Pompeo lays out new Iran terms | Pentagon hints at more aggressive posture against Iran | House, Senate move on defense bill Senate GOP urges Trump administration to work closely with Congress on NAFTA Sarah Sanders: ‘Democrats are losing their war against women in the Trump administration’ MORE (R-Ariz.) have been some of the most vocal critics of sequestration, warning that the across-the-board reductions would be devastating to the military.

A group of seven lawmakers introduced their plan on Wednesday, which they said was the most painless way to avoid the cuts to the Pentagon.

Their opposition to the sequester, however, has put them at odds with some members of their own party who say that achieving spending cuts through sequestration is better than agreeing to the new revenues that Democrats are demanding in a sequester deal.

The proposal introduced by the group of defense hawks is similar to legislation from the last Congress that did not gain any traction in either chamber. The bill this time around would reverse the $85 billion in 2013 cuts to both defense and non-defense discretionary spending by hiring back only one federal worker for every three who leave.

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamSenate GOP urges Trump administration to work closely with Congress on NAFTA Graham: Trump will 'end North Korea’s threat to the American homeland' in his first term Sunday shows preview: Lawmakers weigh in after Texas school shooting MORE (R-S.C.) told reporters at Wednesday’s press conference that Republicans who were comfortable with letting the defense cuts happen had “lost your way as much as the president.”

A Club for Growth spokesman said that no decision has been made about whether a vote on the defense hawks’ legislation would be a “key vote” for the organization.