GOP lawmakers see automatic cuts as leverage
WASHINGTON - Republican conservatives are driving a politically risky move to permit painfully large automatic budget cuts to strike the Pentagon and domestic programs alike in an effort to force Democrats into making concessions on the budget.
It's a remarkable turnabout from last year, when GOP leaders were among the loudest voices warning of dire consequences for the military and the economy if more than $100 billion worth of across-the-board cuts would be allowed to take effect.
Now, even as defense hawks fume, Republicans see the strategy as their best chance of wringing cuts from costly government benefit programs like Medicare that President Barack Obama and his Democratic allies have been reluctant to touch.
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