Top Armed Services Committee Republicans Wednesday proposed avoiding automatic spending cuts, due March 1, by requiring reducing the federal workforce and freezing members of Congress' pay.
The plan, the Down Payment to Protect National Security Act, would avoid $85 billion of cuts, roughly half from defense and half from domestic programs.
Pentagon officials have warned the cuts could be devastating. Military officials are expected to testify in Congress next week about the impact, and House Armed Services Committee Chairman Howard "Buck" McKeon predicted, "what they will tell us is we are really in dire straits."
The Republican plan would require a government-wide drop in federal employees by 10 percent through attrition. Federal agencies would be able to hire one person for every three who left through attrition.