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Group of GOP, Dem Lawmakers Want Defense Cuts in Fiscal Cliff Deal

A group of 11 House Republicans and 11 House Democrats have sent a letter to President Barack Obama asking for defense cuts to be part of a budget agreement ahead of the fiscal cliff, Defense News reports.

John Bennett writes the lawmakers cited a recent exercise by the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments and several other think tank studies as examples of how the Pentagon could achieve $550 billion in savings and maintain national security.

The lawmakers said they opposed the sequestration mechanism, which would result in nearly $1 trillion in defense cuts over 10 years, as a way to achieve budget savings but approved the intent to reduce the deficit.

Bennett reports some Republicans have indicated support for defense cuts smaller than the $500 billion covered under the sequester to achieve $1.2 trillion in total budget savings and nullify the sequester.

Nora Bensahel of the Center for a New American Security told Politico defense funds cover nearly 11 percent of money that would be affected by the fiscal cliff, which includes both sequestration and automatic tax increases.

She told Politico sequestration would be used as a bargaining chip in negotiations.

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