Leading Democrat expects deal to prevent sequestration

Tuesday - 1/17/2012, 9:33am EST

Rep. Norm Dicks (D-Wash.), the ranking member on the House Appropriations Committee, expects Democrats and Republicans will be able to negotiate a deal that would prevent the $1.2 trillion in automatic spending cuts that would kick in due to the sequestration process, the Seattle Times reports.

"I don't think that's going to happen," Dicks said. "I think that Congress will step in here."

In 2011, Congress approved a plan in which the sequestration would begin implementing the cuts in 2013 if the special supercommittee failed to come up with an alternative plan to reduce the deficit by $1.2 trillion. The supercommittee was unable to come to an agreement by its November 2011 deadline, which triggered the sequestration process.

Congress can still cut off the automatic cuts if Democrats and Republicans can agree on a new deficit-reduction plan. Complicating things is President Barack Obama's promise last November to veto any plan stalling the automatic spending reductions. "There will be no easy offramps on this one," he said.

"I am convinced that we we'll come up with an alternative that reaches the required goal without doing sequestration," Dicks told the Seattle Times. "It may be after the election. But I know there are people working on it, as we speak, to come up with a plan. This is what the supercommittee was supposed to do."

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