Democratic senators emerged from a lunch with Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and top Pentagon officials and said the current cuts could not be allowed to stand.
Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Pa., said the session had confirmed to him that as currently constituted, the cuts were ‘a really, really dumb idea.”
In a cycle of crisis followed by compromise over the past two years, Obama and congressional Republicans have agreed to more than $3.6 trillion in long-term deficit savings over a decade.
None of the savings to date has come from the big benefit programs that lawmakers in both parties say must be tackled if the country is to gain control over its finances. Each party fears the political fallout of confronting them on their own, but Democrats, in particular, are reluctant to scale back programs that they count as their political birthright.
Their rival speeches on the Senate floor weren’t the first time that Toomey and Murray disagreed on economic issues.
Both served on a so-called congressional Supercommittee in 2011 that was charged with producing at least $1.2 trillion in savings over a decade.
The panel deadlocked, automatically triggering the across-the-board cuts that now are imminent.