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Union Leader - Ayotte again pushes legislation to cut federal spending, save Shipyard jobs

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U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire will try again to convince her Senate colleagues to pass a bill she is sponsoring that would replace automatic defense spending cuts with cuts in the federal workforce through attrition.

The bill is similar to legislation she cosponsored last year that went nowhere in the Democratic-controlled Senate. It calls for making a "down payment" on the automatic defense cuts, also called sequestration, that were part of the Budget Control Act that Congress approved in 2011 and calls for sweeping spending cuts and tax increases.

"We're already feeling the effects of sequestration in New Hampshire, where the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard and our defense suppliers are bracing for these cuts," Ayotte said in a statement. "We can prevent the first year of sequestration without raising taxes. The legislation I'm introducing today does just that by replacing these reductions with common sense savings found elsewhere in the federal budget."

The cuts and tax rate increases were to occur Jan. 1, but a last-minute deal reached in Congress that pushed the automatic cuts out to March and increased tax rates for top earners.

Ayotte's bill would call for $85 billion in savings by reducing the federal workforce by 10 percent through attrition. It allows federal agencies to hire just one worker for every three who leave their employment.

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