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Toomey: Senate GOP plan would make cuts less ‘disruptive’

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The bill “simply says we are going to do the cuts, but we’re going to let the president find the least disruptive way, the most sensible ways to make these cuts, so we can go after the waste the duplication rather than laying of air traffic controllers,” he added. “I think there is a more sensible way to do this and that’s what we are going to offer.”

The plan would give Obama the power to choose which federal programs to cut to meet the $85 billion target. But the proposal, also backed by Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and GOP leaders, has Senate Republicans split.

Some GOP lawmakers fear it would empower President Obama to use the sequester as a political weapon, while defense advocates fear it would not allow the Pentagon to escape devastating cuts.

The Senate is slated to vote this week on the GOP proposal and a rival plan from Democrats, which offsets the sequester through a combination of targeted cuts and tax hikes. But neither plan is expected to pass the upper chamber.

With the deadline to avert the cuts nearing, both sides have sought to lay the blame for the fallout on each other.

Toomey said he was open to a deal but said the president would need to take the lead.

“I would go to Camp David or anywhere else if the president wants to meet and try to work this out,” Toomey said. “I spent a lot of time trying to get a solution when I was on the 'supercommitee' and I’m trying to make some progress now.”

But Toomey ruled out new taxes to offset any part of the sequester, a key demand of Obama and congressional Democrats, calling for a focus on reining in spending. 

“What I wouldn’t agree to is kicking this can down the road yet again,” he said.