WASHINGTON — Sen. Jim Inhofe has authored legislation that would give Pentagon leaders rare flexibility with their funding if automatic budget cuts are triggered in early March.
Inhofe, of Tulsa, the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said Wednesday he is still working to stop the cuts. However, he said military leaders should have the authority to determine how those cuts are made if they go into effect.
His legislation would allow them to transfer money across their many accounts to balance out the impacts.
Inhofe said he presented his proposal to key Senate Republicans and had discussed it with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat.
The cuts, known as sequestration, were the result of the 2011 deal to raise the debt ceiling. They were set to go into effect in January but were delayed until early March. Of the $1 trillion in cuts over a decade, the Pentagon would bear $500 billion, while the rest would be spread over other departments, including Education and Homeland Security.
Should the cuts go into effect, the military would have to cut nearly $50 billion over the next few months. Pentagon leaders have said civilian furloughs would likely be mandated and training and maintenance curtailed significantly.