Sequestration and the Denial of the Spending Problem in Washington
Feb 24 -
By now, most Americans are all too familiar with the automatic spending cuts, known as sequestration, that are poised to indiscriminately cut billions of dollars from defense and non-defense spending. There is no question that our nation has a spending problem that we must address; however, as several of my colleagues and I have been saying for more than a year and a half now, we can and should replace these harmful automatic cuts with commonsense spending cuts that don’t harm our military, its civilian support structure, or our national security. As I noted in my previous newsletters, the House has passed multiple bills to avert sequestration and avoid the negative consequences resulting from the sequester. In fact, the House first passed legislation 290 days ago to replace sequestration with responsible spending cuts. But these efforts have been ignored by the Administration and Senate leadership who has yet to bring a potential solution to the Senate floor for debate.
With sequestration set to hit our military the hardest, you would think that President Obama, as Commander-in-Chief, would be the first one at the table to negotiate an alternative plan, especially when you consider that he insisted on the devastating, across-the-board spending cuts becoming law in the first place. But, rather than sit down with Members of Congress to solve this problem, President Obama is far more interested in holding campaign-style events. He spent last week touring the country to speak with local TV stations, calling a handpicked group of White House correspondents in for “off the record” talks, and announcing plans for a visit and stump speech at a Virginia shipbuilding facility, all while doing little to build a bridge toward a solution.
During his media tour last week, President Obama told a SiriusXM radio host, “I will be honest with you right now, it is not clear to me that the Republicans are going to agree to turn this sequester off despite the fact that 75 percent of the American people agree with me in terms of the approach and disagree with them.” Now, I don’t know where President Obama is getting these numbers from, but they are wildly out of line with what I hear every day from folks in Northwest Florida.
The President’s rhetoric is also far out of line with Americans all across this nation on the state of our budget and economy. Based on a bipartisan February poll, 73 percent of people believe our government should cut spending. Meanwhile, a nationwide poll conducted by the University of Connecticut, carried out in January, found that 40 percent of respondents believe we should reduce our deficit through spending cuts, while only 3 percent believe we should do so through tax increases. Yet, the President’s plan to avert sequestration, which he only announced this month, calls to replace the spending cuts found in sequestration with more spending and tax increases. And yet the President would like us to believe that 75 percent of Americans agree with his plan to raise taxes even further?
Numerous military and Department of Defense officials have reiterated on multiple occasions, sequestration cuts would cause the most harm to our Armed Forces, and the President’s own Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has said, these cuts would “hollow out” our military. Just last week, General Odierno, Chief of Staff of the United States Army, testified, “If nothing is done to mitigate sequestration, the Army will be forced to make dramatic cuts…putting our national security at risk.”
At the end of the day, President Obama has a constitutional duty, as Commander-in-Chief to ensure the readiness of our Armed Forces. Instead of threatening to harm our military if he doesn’t get a second tax hike, the President must stop the campaign-style rallies and bring the Senate to the table to join the House and find a solution to sequestration that does not imperil our nation’s security or force additional tax increases on hardworking Americans.