March 1, 2013

Collins: Let federal agencies decide what to cut

The Associated Press

DENVER — Two senators want to change the composition of automatic spending cuts that are kicking in Friday.

Republican Susan Collins and Democrat Mark Udall propose that federal agencies determine what gets cut rather than reducing spending across the board. The $85 billion in cuts are required to be unilateral. Managers are expressly forbidden from choosing what gets trimmed and what doesn't.

The cuts were put into place by a 2011 deal to raise the debt ceiling. They were designed to be as damaging as possible to force a budget compromise. That compromise never happened.

On Thursday, Senate Democrats voted down a Republican plan to have the administration determine where the cuts fall. The proposal by Maine's Collins and Colorado's Udall differs because Congress would have to approve the reconfigured reductions.

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