McKeon: Deep US defence spending cuts now seen as inevitable
By Marina Malenic
Across-the-board cuts to the US Department of Defense (DoD) known as 'sequestration' that are due to take effect on 1 March are all but inevitable, a senior US lawmaker said on 15 February.
"I think it is going to happen," said Republican Buck McKeon, the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. "Both sides are locked into positions we cannot seem to get away from."
Another postponement of sequestration is unlikely, McKeon told reporters during a breakfast meeting in Washington, DC.
Republican efforts are now likely to focus on blunting the effects of the defence cuts. For example, McKeon said that a pending six-month-long appropriations bill would allow the DoD to shift money, providing some relief from sequestration. He said he hopes that such a budget agreement could be reached within weeks.
McKeon said he is against any agreement that cuts more defence spending than the reductions under way already do. He reiterated support for a Republican-proffered plan that would avoid one year of sequestration primarily through a 10% cut in the federal workforce.
The chairman added that his committee ultimately will have to re-examine defence priorities, including health and retirement benefits for current and future military members.198 of 470 words
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