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New Hampshire

September 30, 2012

Shaheen, Ayotte seek to stop budget cuts

New Hampshire Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Kelly Ayotte are turning up the heat in the U.S. Senate to avoid major budget cuts set to begin Jan. 1.

The two Granite Staters are among six members of the U.S. Senate pressuring Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to push for alternative proposals by November.

They sent a letter to Reid and McConnell this past week, highlighting the potential impact of the “sequestrian” or automatic cuts included in the Budget Control Act of 2011. The four other senators are John McCain, R-Ariz.; Carl Levin, D-Mich.; Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.; and Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I. “We face a critical challenge in the next few months: balancing the need to reduce the deficit with the need to safeguard important priorities, particularly protecting our national security, vital domestic programs and our economic recovery,” the letter said.

Shaheen, D-N.H., said in a statement that lawmakers need to come together to resolve the issue.

“It is imperative for our national security and our economy that we work together to prevent the automatic cuts that would result from sequestration,” she said. “This letter reflects our bipartisan commitment to forge a comprehensive and balanced deficit reduction plan that addresses all aspects of our long-term budget.”

Shaheen and Ayotte, R-N.H., have said the cuts could have a tremendous impact on New Hampshire. In July, they attended a press conference held by the Aerospace Industries Association where a study was unveiled that detailed the potential impact of the cuts.

The study warned of substantial job losses and $1.2 trillion in cuts over the next decade to defense and domestic programs. Those potential job losses include 6,300 in New Hampshire.

The cuts would lead to the elimination of $2.1 million jobs nationwide and a $215 billion reduction in the gross domestic product, the study said.

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