Congress wrestles over party disagreements in how to cut defense

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The head of the House Armed Services Committee will speak about defense cuts on Wednesday at the Reagan Library in Simim Valley. Republican Buck McKeon of Santa Clarita wants to pay for next year’s reductions by slashing the federal workforce 10 percent. Democrats have other ideas.

The Pentagon is facing more than half a trillion dollars in cuts over the next decade. That’s on top of nearly another half trillion in cuts already in the pipeline. Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez says everyone's saying, "Oh my gosh! How are we going to do that?”

The Democrat from Anaheim says Buck McKeon’s solution is a one-year fix. Sanchez, who sits on the House Armed Services Committee, says there are cuts to be found in defense.

"In 10 years of being in two wars, we threw a lot of money at defense," Sanchez says. "Now that we’re getting out of those wars, we need to bring some of that money down, we need to bring all the extra amount of troops that we plussed up in the military for those wars, we need to bring them down, and quite frankly, there are some big defense systems which cost a lot of money, which some of them may not be needed."

The automatic cuts were mandated after the so-called "super committee" failed to come up with a way to trim more than a trillion dollars from the deficit.

But Sanchez says cutting alone isn’t going to solve the problem. She says Democrats say $600 billion worth of cuts are coming "unless you Republicans agree that we need more revenue to save some of these programs."

Congress has until Oct. 1 to reduce the deficit before automatic cuts to both defense and domestic spending take effect. Oct. 1 is also the date the Bush tax cuts are set to expire. Sanchez says that, if you’re looking for revenue, that’s a good place to start.

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