WASHINGTON – Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, voted Thursday to support a Democratic plan to address across-the-board spending cuts set to begin Friday while Republican Sen. Susan Collins cast votes against both the Democratic proposal and one from her party.

Collins and a Colorado Democrat also said they would introduce a bill to give federal agencies more flexibility in deciding where to cut $85 billion in spending through Sept. 30.

King, an independent who caucuses with the Democrats, voted for the party’s proposal to offset roughly one-half of the cuts by eliminating tax breaks for wealthy individuals and corporations. He voted against a Republican proposal to keep the cuts at $85 billion but require President Obama to decide how to distribute them.

“I’m disappointed that Congress was unable to move forward on a sequester replacement plan,” King said in a statement. “Sequestration represents a significant threat to our economic and national security and we lost an opportunity today to work together to achieve a much needed resolution.”

Collins voted against both proposals.

“Today, we were presented with two plans — neither of which faces reality,” she said in a statement.

Afterward, Collins and Democratic Sen. Mark Udall of Colorado said they plan to sponsor a bill that would allow the White House and each federal agency to propose the best way to implement the cuts. The plans would be subject to congressional approval.

The bill would also allow the Defense Department to move forward with approved projects at risk of being delayed because Congress has yet to approve a new defense budget. This would presumably allow the Navy to enter into contracts for additional destroyers likely to be at least partially built at Bath Iron Works in Maine.

Washington Bureau Chief Kevin Miller can be contacted at 317-6256 or at:

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