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McCain vows to fight potential automatic defense cuts

John McCain said this afternoon that he will lead an effort in Congress to fight any further defense cuts that may be imposed if the super committee fails to reach agreement.

The debt-ceiling legislation passed by Congress in August has already mandated $450 billion in defense cuts over the next decade -- and it calls for even more defense cuts if the super committee fails to reach agreement on $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction. This was one of the so-called "triggers" to force the committee to act.

McCain was responding to a question about Defense Secretary Leon Panetta's testimony today that further cuts "will truly devastate our national defense."

McCain said Panetta was right, and he argued Congress is not bound by the debt-ceiling legislation.

"If there's a failure on part of the super committee ... we will be among the first on the floor to nullify that provision, because Congress is not bound by this,” McCain said during a press conference to unveil the new Republican jobs plan. “It’s something we passed; we can reverse it.”

He added, "As far as I'm concerned, I will fight any additional cuts in Defense spending, but I will also tell you that cost overruns as far as procurement is concerned is an insult to American tax payers. There are many efficiencies that can still be imposed.”