In their plan, Bowles and Simpson say the automatic cuts scheduled for March 1 are too steep and could set back the economy.
"Sharp austerity could have the opposite effect by tempering the still-fragile economic recovery. In order to protect the recovery, the sequester should be avoided and deficit reduction should be phased in gradually," they wrote.
Obama has proposed about $1.5 trillion in long-term deficit reduction with savings from changes in health care programs, lower cost-of-living adjustments in Social Security and other government benefits, spending cuts and increases in revenue by overhauling the tax system
Obama has said he wants to close tax loopholes, but with a few exceptions. The White House says any elimination of corporate subsidies or tax breaks would be used to lower rates for corporations to 28 percent and to 25 percent for manufacturers, not to raise revenue.
Under Obama's plan, additional revenue of about $600 billion over 10 years would mostly come from reducing the value of itemized deductions and other tax preferences to 28 percent for families with incomes over $250,000.
Even as Obama and Republicans battle over the automatic cuts, Congress is also struggling over how to fund the government through the Sept. 30 end of the fiscal year. Every federal agency has been running on autopilot at essentially last year's funding level since October.
The Pentagon, for instance, has been denied long-sought increases for training and readiness, especially for the Navy and Marine Corps. House Appropriations Committee Chairman Harold Rogers, R-Ky., favors attaching a half-trillion-plus Pentagon funding bill and another measure funding veterans' programs to a spending bill that would pay for government operations for the final six months of the budget year.
Senate Democrats appear cool to the idea of permitting only defense-related spending measures to advance.
Associated Press writer Andrew Taylor contributed to this article.
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