WASHINGTON (AP) - A senior Pentagon official says automatic budget cuts due to go into effect next month represent "the collateral damage of political gridlock."
Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter urged lawmakers Tuesday to put aside their partisan differences and head off the reductions, known as sequestration, and also pass a defense budget for the current fiscal year. Carter called the looming cuts "particularly tragic" because they are avoidable.
The potential for sequestration is the result of Congress' failure to trim the deficit by $1.2 trillion. The Pentagon faces a $46 billion budget cut between March and September. The automatic cuts, which critics say would undermine the military's readiness, would be in addition to a $487 billion reduction in defense spending over the next 10 years, mandated by the 2011 Budget Control Act.