POWELL, Wyo. (AP) — Former Sen. Alan Simpson is offering a new plan to avoid automatic spending cuts set to hit March 1 absent a bipartisan deficit-reduction deal.

Along with Democrat Erskine Bowles, former chief of staff for President Bill Clinton, Simpson says the automatic cuts are too steep and could set back the economy.

The pair's new plan calls for reducing the deficit by $2.4 trillion over the next 10 years, with much of the savings coming through health care changes, the closing of tax loopholes, a stingier adjustment of Social Security's cost-of-living increases and other measures.

Simpson, a Republican from Cody, tells The Associated Press he doesn't expect a deal to avoid the automatic cuts, and the results will be "chaotic."

The cuts would trim roughly $85 billion from military and domestic spending in this budget year.