Democrats to unveil bill to replace budget cuts

By Andrew Taylor

Associated Press

Published: Thursday, Feb. 14 2013 12:33 p.m. MST

Security at U.S. diplomatic installations, incredibly sensitive since the Sept. 11 attack in Benghazi, Libya, would also be affected, as would international peacekeeping operations in Mali and elsewhere and programs combatting terrorism, weapons proliferation and drug trafficking.

Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, told reporters on Thursday the sequester was Obama's idea and said it's up to Senate Democrats to see if they can pass legislation to replace it with other spending cuts.

"The sequester, I don't like it. No one should like it. But the sequester is there because the president insisted that it be there. Where's the president's plan to replace the sequester that he insisted upon?" Boehner told reporters.

The Senate bill would forestall the cuts through Dec. 31 and substitute about $120 billion in deficit savings over the coming decade. Almost $1 trillion worth of cuts over the coming eight years would remain in place.

But Republicans are likely to block the measure because it contains a 10-year, $47 billion tax increase known as the "Buffett Rule" that would require people with million-dollar incomes to pay a minimum of 30 percent income tax. The rule is named after billionaire investor Warren Buffett, whose secretary pays a higher tax rate than he does.

The measure would also raise about $24 billion by cutting much-criticized direct payments to farmers in addition to $27 billion in Pentagon cuts. Interest savings would contribute most of the rest.

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