Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told students at Georgetown University that a "a dangerous and callous attitude" is "developing among some Republicans and some Democrats, that these dangerous cuts can be allowed to take place in order to blame the other party for the consequences. This is a kind of 'so what?' attitude that says, 'Let's see how bad it can get in order to have the other party blink.'"
He said the cuts - known in budget jargon as a "sequester" - would require the Pentagon to put as many as 800,000 civilian employees on unpaid leave for 22 work days, reduce Navy operations in the Western Pacific by up to one-third and cut Air Force flying hours.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, meanwhile, claimed that over 20,000 small businesses would be hurt by cuts to the Department of Defense.
Meanwhile, the Associated Press Reports,
Separately, the U.S. Air Force told Congress it will have to curtail its orders for Lockheed Martin Corp's F-35 fighter jet, restructure a $52 billion tanker contract with Boeing Co and reduce its flying hours by 18 percent if lawmakers do not avert the cuts.
It's a surprising tactic, but perhaps it's the only way Democrats can try to sell it: preserve increased defense spending by kowtowing to big government contractors.
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