McKeon: Stop Posturing And Start Working

Jun 26, 2012
Defense Drumbeat
In POLITICO Column Chairman McKeon Asks The President And Senate To Do Their Part To Stop Defense Cuts
In a column in today's POLITICO, Armed Services Chairman Howard P. "Buck" McKeon (R-CA) lays out the dramatic consequences of the automatic defense cuts known as "sequestration" and urges Senate Democrats and the White House to follow House Republican's lead in putting forward actual solutions to the pending crisis:

Impact On The Economy Would Be Sudden And Severe: "Sequestration would mean a total of $1 trillion in cuts to our military over the next 10 years. America would have its smallest ground force since before World War II, its smallest Navy since before World War I and its smallest air force Air Force in the history of the service. Sequestration would limit America’s power and influence in the world and restrict our ability to defend vital interests. It would render any manner of strategy and planning in the Pentagon essentially meaningless... [Defense Cuts] would result in the loss of about 1 million jobs in 2013 and 2014 and a half a percent cut to America’s already meager economic growth. And it’s not just defense jobs at stake. It wouldn’t just be the soldier returning home from Afghanistan to a pink slip, or merely the engineer building new fighters receiving a layoff notice. It would be the tailor repairing service members’ uniforms, the restaurant owner feeding their families off base and the teacher educating their children."

The Shape And Size Of Our Military Is The Result Of Longstanding Bipartisan Agreement, Not Special Interest Politics: "There has been a broad bipartisan consensus for decades about the size and scope of our military. That’s why the National Defense Authorization Act, which sets policy for our military, is possibly the only annual piece of legislation to have a standing record of 50 consecutive years of passage. In the past 10 years, the gridlocked Senate has approved the measure overwhelmingly each year, including five times by unanimous consent or voice vote. For the past nine years, the House has approved the bill with the support, on average, of 80 percent of its members."

Now Is The Time To Stop Posturing And Start Working: "For all their talk of balanced solutions and the urgent need for compromise, President Barack Obama and Senate Democrats have offered nothing but vague talking points about revenues and tax increases. When we should urgently be coming together, Democrats are cynically running out the clock, hoping to use the threat of devastating cuts to our military to pass a domestic agenda that has little public support. As late as last week, I personally asked the president’s budget director to testify before my committee on the administration’s plans and projected impacts for sequestration. I asked him to commit to testifying in mid-July. He did not agree...Now is the time to stop posturing and start working. We understand that our plans will not be identical, that we have different ideas about how to fix the problem. But only after these ideas are presented can we actually begin debating them and arriving at a common solution. Republicans have passed legislation. It’s time for the president and Democrats and to do their part."

Read The Full Column
112th Congress