On Jan. 2, 2013, a series of automatic, across-the-board spending cuts will take effect if the lame-duck Congress does not reach a deal on taxes and spending in time.
Almost all members of Congress have said that allowing the sequester to happen is a bad idea. But which members have been the most outspoken against the idea of the looming sequester cuts?
John McCain, R-Ariz., was one of three senators to hit the road this summer for what was called the "Preserving America's Strength" tour. It was a two-day swing through four presidential battleground states, where the senators held town-hall meetings to discuss the negative impact of the sequestration cuts.(AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., was also on the "Preserving America's Strength" tour, which hit Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, and New Hampshire. The senators said those states would be the most affected by the sequestration cuts.(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., was the third senator on the "Preserving America's Strength" tour. Ayotte and her colleagues invited their Democratic colleagues in each of the four states to appear alongside them, but all five refused.(AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
Although Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., declined to participate in the "Preserving America's Strength" tour, he publicly expressed more support for their cause than did the other four Democratic senators who declined to appear. He published a two-page letter promising "bipartisan cooperation."(AP Photo/John Raoux)
In the House, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., has been a leading voice in opposition to the sequester. He sponsored a bill to eliminate the sequester requirement from the Budget Control Act, then sponsored another bill proposing substitute cuts. The latter bill passed the House, but not the Senate.(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Outgoing Rep. Allen West, R-Fla., had earlier introduced the National Security and Job Protection Act, which called on President Obama to submit a plan to Congress for replacing the cuts included in the sequester by Oct. 15. It passed the House in September on a mostly party-line vote, but did not pass the Senate.(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colo., proposed the Sequestration Prevention Act of 2012, intended to replace the sequestration cuts with alternative targeted reforms. The bill died in committee.(AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)
On the Democratic side, retiring Rep. Edolphus Towns, D-N.Y., proposed a bill to exempt Medicare from the direct spending reductions under the sequester. It died in committee last November.(AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
In excruciating detail, Rep. Norm Dicks, D-Wash., sent a "Dear Colleagues" letter, prepared by the House Appropriations Committee, to members of Congress in October. It laid out the number of jobs that would be lost in each government department and how many people would be deprived of certain government services if the sequester were to occur.(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
House Budget Committee ranking member Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., has frequently lamented House members' refusal to take up the Democrats' proposed alternatives to sequestration cuts.(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
As the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Rep. Buck McKeon, R-Calif., has backed the House's anti-sequestration bills. The sequester would reduce Pentagon spending by $500 billion over the next nine years.(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
House Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee Chairman Randy Forbes, R-Va., has planned a series of a dozen town-hall meetings to discuss the perils of the sequestration cuts to the defense budget.(AP Photo/Lawrence Jackson)