There is bipartisan consensus that the cuts to our military outlined in the Budget Control Act’s sequester would be devastating to our national security. President Obama spells it out clearly in his budget request:
“[C]uts of this magnitude done in an across-the-board fashion would be devastating both to defense and non-defense programs.” (The Budget of the United States Government, Fiscal Year 2013, p. 24, February 13, 2012)
But where is the president’s solution to the problem outlined in his own budget? The president has been AWOL. Others in the administration also have underscored the devastating nature of the cuts:
- In testimony before the House Budget Committee, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has also said the sequester cuts would “in fact, hollow out the force and inflict severe damage to our national defense.” Where is the president’s solution to the problem outlined by his own Defense Secretary? The president’s been AWOL.
- The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Dempsey, recently stated, “[S]equestration leaves me three places to go to find the additional money: operations, maintenance, and training. That’s the definition of a hollow force.” Where is the president’s solution to the problem outlined by his own Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff? Again, the president’s been AWOL.
Only House Republicans have proposed a solution to solve the problem, a solution that both protects our nation’s defense and further reduces the deficit. The plan uses savings generated from the GOP reforms focused primarily on the unsustainable growth of autopilot spending to offset the cost (approximately $78 billion) of replacing the automatic across-the-board discretionary (including defense) spending cuts that are scheduled to occur on January 2, 2013. It also uses the additional savings beyond the $78 billion (more than $180 billion over the next 10 years) to further reduce the deficit.
In the coming weeks, House Republicans will continue moving this plan forward. Six House committees have each approved measures that together generate savings both to replace the defense cuts and further reduce the deficit, and the House Budget Committee will consider the full package on Monday.
House Republicans understand that the debt and deficit have placed a massive burden on our economy, on jobs, and on American families, and we have offered a plan to protect our Armed Forces and further reduce the deficit. The president, who just returned from a trip to Afghanistan to visit our troops in harm’s way, has no such plan. As the commander-in-chief, President Obama is ultimately responsible for our military readiness, so it’s fair to ask: where is his plan to stop military cuts that would ‘hollow out’ our Armed Forces?