Lawmakers Prepare for Spending Cuts as Debt Committee Fails to Agree

The U.S. Capitol and House of Representatives in Washington.(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

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By Lisa Kunkel

WASHINGTON (AP) - Failure by Congress' debt-cutting supercommittee to recommend $1.2 trillion in budget savings by
Wednesday is supposed to automatically trigger spending cuts to
accomplish the job.

Yet with the bipartisan debt panel increasingly unlikely to reach a deal, lawmakers who concocted the idea for the automatic cuts already are trying to figure out how to keep that budget axe from whacking their favorite programs.

The cuts would start in 2013 and be spread evenly over the next nine years, divided equally between defense and domestic programs. That's about $55 billion annually for each category.

President Barack Obama and Congress' leaders have said they'd oppose blocking the automatic cuts. But no one expects that to stop
lawmakers from trying to defuse them, especially in the heated climate of next year's elections.

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