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Democrats Insist ‘Deal Is a Deal’ on Defense Cuts

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call
From left: Reps. Chris Van Hollen, Emanuel Cleaver, Peter Welch and George Miller hold a news conference today to announce efforts to oppose legislation to roll back automatic defense cuts.

The Democrats opposed to adjusting the sequester, including Reps. George Miller (Calif.), Chris Van Hollen (Md.) and Emanuel Cleaver (Mo.), sent a letter to President Barack Obama today in support of his warning that he would veto efforts to reduce the sequester that reached his desk. More than 90 Democrats have signed the letter, including House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (Md.).

“We stand with President Obama, who said that he would veto legislation to overturn the automatic cuts unless there was a balanced agreement to reach the $1.2 trillion in [deficit] reduction figure,” said Miller, one of the top lieutenants of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.).

All agreed that the only way the sequester could be adjusted would be if Congress agrees on a new deficit reduction plan, which includes new revenues — the major sticking point that lead to the impasse in the super committee.

The super committee “failed because Republicans opposed a balanced solution that included significant new taxes on the most wealthy people and the largest corporations in America,” Miller said, adding that GOP Members who voted for the plan should honor their votes.

“If Republicans in Congress didn’t think that the Pentagon could withstand more spending cuts, then they should have put more pressure on their own party to agree to a balanced package of new revenues and new spending cuts to reduce the debt,” Miller added.

“We oppose an end run of the debt ceiling deal to protect the Pentagon” Welch said. “We support ongoing negotiations to achieve savings equal to or greater than the sequester. But any agreement must be balanced, including defense and revenues.”

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