Toomey: GOP will try to reconfigure automatic spending cuts

Supercommittee member Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) said Sunday that Republicans will seek to "change the configuration" of the automatic spending cuts triggered by the committee's failure to present a deficit-reduction deal.

"I think it's important that we change the configuration [of the cuts]. I think there's a broad consensus that too much of the cuts are weighted on [our national defense]," Toomey said on ABC's "This Week With Christiane Amanpour."

Toomey said he is "terribly disappointed" the committee failed to reach a deal but called the automatic cuts built into the committee's mandate a "silver lining."

The failure of the supercommittee to reach an agreement last week triggered $1.2 trillion in automatic cuts set to hit the Defense department and other programs in 2013.

President Obama, addressing the supercommittee's failure last Monday, pledged to veto any attempt to circumvent the automatic cuts. He also exhorted Congress to reach a deal to reduce the national deficit before the cuts are implemented.

"I'd be surprised if the president would simply veto any effort to make any changes," Toomey said.

Republicans have objected to the steep defense cuts included in the $1.2 trillion, and Toomey said last week that the automatic cuts are weighted toward Democrats.

"Let’s face it, there are a lot of Democrats whose lifelong ambition has been to cut defense spending," he said last Tuesday on Townhall Radio.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has warned that forced military cuts would “undermine our ability to meet our national security objectives and require a significant revision to our defense strategy.”

However, Panetta joined Obama in calling Congress to act on the deficit rather than find a way to void the cuts.

“I join the president in his call for Congress to avoid an easy way out of this crisis,” Panetta said last week. “Congress cannot simply turn off the sequester mechanism, but instead must pass deficit reduction at least equal to the $1.2 trillion it was charged to pass under the Budget Control Act.”