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

(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.

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“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.)

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