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Senate Democrats craft bill to avert budget cuts

WASHINGTON (AP) - Top Senate Democrats have prepared a plan to slice the Pentagon's budget by $3 billion a year in an attempt to avoid far steeper cuts this year that defense hawks warn would cripple the military.

Majority Leader Harry Reid hopes to stage a vote on the measure before $85 billion in automatic budget cuts start to strike in March.

But Republicans are likely to block the measure because it contains a 10-year, $47 billion tax increase known as the "Buffett Rule" that would require people with million-dollar incomes to pay a minimum 30 percent income tax. The rule is named after billionaire investor Warren Buffett.

Democratic aides say the plan is unofficial but is expected to be released later this week. The aides required anonymity since the plan isn't public.


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