GOP Lawmakers Offer Alternative to Automatic Cuts

ANDREW TAYLOR | Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) – A group of GOP lawmakers from the House and Senate is offering a plan to cut the federal workforce and use the savings to replace $85 billion in across-the-board budget cuts to the Pentagon and domestic programs.

The legislation reprises a plan offered last year that failed to advance.

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Howard "Buck" McKeon leads the group, which agrees with Defense Secretary Leon Panetta that a looming 8 percent cut to the Pentagon budget would recklessly harm the nation's military.

The California Republican said the Pentagon faces "dire straits."

President Barack Obama and fellow Democrats say that new tax revenues need to be part of any measure to replace the automatic cuts, which economists warn would slow the economy if allowed to strike on March 1.

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