Weekly Columns

Congress Must Replace Dangerous Defense Reductions with Sensible Spending Cuts

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Washington, May 2, 2012 | comments

Next week, the House will consider legislation to replace destructive and arbitrary cuts to Defense funding with savings derived from reforms to government programs that have rapidly expanded in recent years. Dangerous cuts are on the horizon because the supercommittee failed to find common ground on spending cuts, under the terms of the Budget Control Act.

The opportunity missed by the supercommittee was an opportunity to reform our mandatory programs.  Instead, this country is facing $1.2 trillion of cuts, a large portion of which will come from our defense programs, and they will be significant.  In order to prevent our National Defense from being jeopardized, Congress needs to re-examine every program scheduled to receive spending cuts.  I am working hard to protect needed funds for our National Defense.

If we do not replace the scheduled across-the-board cuts to our nation’s Defense programs, the consequences are real.  This will require an immediate 10 percent cut to our National Defense. This means that we will have the smallest ground force since the 1940s and the smallest fleet of ships since before the U.S. entered World War I.  That’s not all.  These cuts will mean the smallest tactical fighter force in the history of the Air Force, along with reductions of 20 percent in defense civilian personnel. 

Republicans in Congress and Administration officials agree that these indiscriminate cuts would be devastating. While the president defends massive, arbitrary cuts to Defense, high-ranking Administration officials have articulated the dangers if these cuts are allowed to take effect.  For example, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said, “The impact of these cuts would be devastating for the Department…Facing such large reductions, we would have to reduce the size of the military sharply.”

Instead of allowing these massive reductions in our nation’s Department of Defense to take place, the House will advance legislation that would eliminate government slush funds, stop bailouts, stop fraud and control runaway spending in Washington. This legislation will also reduce waste by cutting duplicative programs.

Yesterday marked the one-year anniversary of the defeat of the most extreme terrorist of our time, Osama bin Laden.  Let us remember the U.S. Navy Seals who acted bravely and swiftly when fulfilling their mission and commemorate them for risking their lives to get the job done.

Let us also commemorate U.S. soldiers who have died in military service. In times of war that followed the brutal attacks of 9/11, we give thanks to the men and women who devoted their lives to defending our freedom. It is the duty of our nation to honor and support our service members who have given up their lives for a greater cause than themselves. 

Instead of slashing spending for our national security, we should enact reforms to ensure that each taxpayer dollar is spent wisely.  We should honor the hard work of our military by ensuring they have the funding they need to successfully complete the mission at hand.

 

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