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.
Some Republicans, including House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., have advocated plugging loopholes, but as part of a discussion on a tax overhaul, not sequestration.
‘‘Loopholes are necessary for tax reform,’’ Ryan said Sunday on ABC’s ‘‘This Week.’’ ‘'If you take them for spending, you’re blocking tax reform and you’re really not getting the deficit under control.’’
The sequester was first set to begin taking effect on Jan. 1. But as part of the ‘‘fiscal cliff’’ negotiations, the White House and lawmakers agreed to push it off for two months in order to create space to work on a larger budget deal.
With little progress on that front in recent weeks, Obama is calling for the sequester to be put off again, though it’s unclear whether another delay would have any impact on the prospects for a broader budget agreement.