Lawmakers Vow to Stop Defense Cuts if Panel Fails
Pessimism mounts that supercommittee will reach a deal
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 5, 2011 8:19 AM CDT
From right, Pete Domenici, Alice Rivlin, Alan Simpson, and Erskine Bowles address the supercommittee this week.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

(Newser) – Your latest sign that the debt supercommittee isn't going to reach a deal: Lawmakers in both parties already are scrambling to ward off the $500 billion in across-the-board defense cuts that are supposed to be triggered by such a failure, reports the New York Times. Legislation is being drafted in both the House and Senate to make sure those cuts never materialize.

“If the joint select committee does not do what it needs to do, most of us will move heaven and earth to find an alternative that prevents a sequester from happening," says one lawmaker. The automatic cuts—an equal amount of non-defense cuts also are mandated—are supposed to provide the incentive for the supercommittee to find a compromise. Some big names, including John Boehner and Chuck Schumer, object to trying to undo them. (Click for two views on why cutting defense is a bad idea.)