Federal agencies are bracing for $1.2 trillion in budget cuts after the failure of the so-called super committee to reach a deal to cut the nation’s deficit. Both defense and non-defense discretionary spending programs will be cut by $600 billion over the next decade, unless Congress and the President can finally reach an agreement on spending, entitlement reform, and tax policy in the coming year.

About $39 billion in reductions to discretionary programs will start three months into fiscal year 2013. The automatic cuts could be avoided if Congress develops and agrees to a different plan for achieving the $1.2 trillion in savings. But any such agreement may not completely shield federal science programs from reductions.

Some lawmakers have already begun to call for a reversal of the impending sequestration of $600 billion from defense programs. In the Senate, the effort is being led by Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC). President Obama has threatened to veto “any effort” to end the automatic spending cuts.


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