WASHINGTON (AP) -- Republican lawmakers are pleading with President Barack Obama to negotiate with Congress to avert automatic, across-the-board military cuts that Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has said would be devastating.
Seven senators warn that the $50 billion reductions that would kick in next January would mean thousands of jobs lost and hardship for the Pentagon. They told reporters Thursday that the issue can't wait until a lame-duck congressional session in December.
Obama and congressional Republicans agreed last summer to cut projected defense spending by $487 billion over a decade. But the failure of Congress to come up with at least $1.2 trillion in cuts last November will trigger another round of reductions in January 2013 to defense and domestic spending.
Panetta has compared that to taking a meat ax to the budget.