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Six Senators Want CBO to Evaluate Proposals for Avoiding Sequestration

A bipartisan group of senators has sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), saying Congress and the president should not wait until January to come up with a resolution avoiding sequestration cuts.

Carl Levin (D-Mich.), John McCain (R-Ariz.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Lindsey Graham (R-Texas), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) signed the letter dated Sept. 21 and released Monday.

The senators asked Reid and McConnell to press the Congressional Budget Office and the Joint Committee on Taxation to evaluate bipartisan proposals for deficit reduction for lawmakers to review.

According to the letter, sequestration would result in the Army seeing a $7 billion reduction in operations and maintenance funding, with the Navy and Air Force losing another $4.3 billion each in their O&M accounts.

The letter also cites studies from the Aerospace Industries Association, which estimate sequestration cuts would result in 1 million lost jobs from defense budget cuts and another million from cuts to domestic spending.

One AIA study says nearly 956,000 small business jobs are at risk.

The National Institutes of Health would face a $2.5 billion cut, which would hit line items covering scientific research into cancer and childhood diseases and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would see a $464 million cut, according to the letter.

If sequestration kicks in, defense discretionary spending would go down 9.4 percent and defense mandatory spending would lose 10 percent of funds.

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