With sequestration—the automatic reductions to the federal government set to occur January 2, 2013—looming ever closer, The Heritage Foundation has put forth a proposal to replace these cuts and avert the disaster.

Heritage’s Patrick Louis Knudsen recently detailed $150 billion worth of savings to be found in the federal budget that would offset the deep defense cuts from sequestration for the upcoming year. These savings would not increase taxes on any American, nor would they weaken military capabilities.

Knudsen identified specific measures—both small and large—that would save the government billions of dollars. One such example is privatizing food services on government-run Amtrak trains. This service has lost $833.8 million of taxpayer dollars over the past 10 years. Another measure would fix wasteful food stamp programs to save more than $5.5 billion.

These are common-sense solutions that find responsible savings while sustaining America’s ability to protect itself.

While Heritage has identified $150 billion in savings, sequestration calls for only $55 billion to be cut from defense in fiscal year 2013. Thus, not only is it possible for lawmakers to avert these cuts, but they also have significant wiggle room to do so. Congress can use these savings to avoid unnecessary cuts in the near term and continue working on a broader solution into the future.

Knudsen’s proposal builds on The Heritage Foundation’s comprehensive fiscal plan for the federal government, Saving the American Dream.

The House of Representatives has already offered a plan to reduce federal spending without endangering security forces or raising taxes. The Administration and the Senate Majority Leader are simply running out of excuses for their insistence that the federal government has a revenue problem rather than a spending problem.

Using the measures outlined by Heritage, Congress and the President need to forge a path forward that rationally reduces federal spending. Doing so on the backs of American taxpayers or the service members who protect their rights is irresponsible.