(UPI) -- Republicans can stop forced U.S. budget cuts by ending millionaires' tax breaks, a presidential aide said as the White House was to say where the ax would fall.
The White House Office of Management and Budget was expected to submit to Congress a report Friday detailing how the mandated cuts, scheduled to go into effect Jan. 2, would affect military and domestic programs in the fiscal 2013 budget, White House spokesman Jay Carney said.
The across-the-board cuts, or "sequestrations," are part of a deal worked out to end last year's U.S. debt-ceiling crisis. A congressional Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, known as the supercommittee, was required to identify about $1.2 trillion in cuts to reduce the federal deficit. If it failed, then Congress could increase the debt ceiling another $1.2 trillion -- but that would trigger the sequestrations.
Roughly half the automatic cuts are to come from defense spending, while the other half would come from non-defense spending.
The cuts amount to about $984 billion -- the difference between $1.2 trillion and the deficit-reduction amount the supercommittee enacted -- so defense and non-defense cuts would each by about $492 billion.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta joined Republicans in October 2011 in saying the automatic defense-spending cuts, projected at the time as being $600 billion, would "truly devastate our national defense."
Defense companies have since said they might have to lay off thousands of employees due to lost revenue.
Congress and the White House can stop the cuts from happening -- and both parties say they don't want them -- if they find other ways by Dec. 31 of reducing the U.S. deficit $984 billion.
Republicans have offered to cut social programs. Democrats and President Barack Obama have proposed some health-program cuts but also an end to tax breaks for the wealthy.
"There is a simple obstacle to resolving this," Carney told reporters Thursday, "and that is the adamant refusal of Republicans in Congress to accept the simple proposition that we need to have a balanced approach to solving our fiscal challenges.
"They would rather see deep and harmful cuts in our defense spending, deep and harmful cuts in our non-defense discretionary spending -- in education, in border security, in assistance to veterans, in research and development.
"They would rather see all of that than ask millionaires and billionaires to pay a little bit more to, as the president believes, return to the marginal tax rates that were in place for wealthier Americans under President [Bill] Clinton, when this country created more than 23 million jobs and there were many millionaires coined to boot."
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio -- who negotiated the sequestration with Obama as a deficit-reducing backstop to end to the debt-ceiling crisis July 31, 2011 -- had no immediate comment.
On Tuesday he said: "Somehow we have to deal with our spending problem. America continues to spend more money than it takes in and we have to resolve it."
The OMB report was supposed to be released a week ago. Obama signed the Sequestration Transparency Act Aug. 7 directing the OMB to detail in 30 days how it planned to implement the automatic cuts.
The White House said the office delayed the report a week because of its complexity.
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