A new group of six Senators committed Monday to working on a “balanced” package to avert the year-end budget cuts required by sequestration.

Senate Armed Services Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and ranking member John McCain (R-Ariz.) led the letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

“Failure to act to address the debt would result in sequestration taking effect in January 2013 with significant detrimental impact on our fragile economic recovery,” the Senators wrote. “According to a report done for the Aerospace Industries Association, if sequestration is allowed to occur in January, the nation will lose approximately 1 million jobs because of defense budget cuts and 1 million jobs because of domestic cuts in 2013.”

About $109 billion in spending cuts are looming in 2013 unless the government takes action to change the law that requires the reductions. That figure is expected to include more than $54 billion in cuts on the defense side of the federal ledger.
Democratic Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (N.H.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (R.I.), and Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham (S.C.) and Kelly Ayotte (N.H.) joined as signatories on the letter, which signaled support for a package that could include reductions on the spending side and increases on the revenue side.

“We are committed to working together to help forge a balanced bipartisan deficit reduction package to avoid damage to our national security, important domestic priorities, and our economy,” the Senators wrote.

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