CNN wrote on Saturday, “Republicans are calling on President Obama and the Democratic-controlled Senate to act before sequestration takes place at the beginning of next year, saying cuts to the military are ‘not the way to address America’s fiscal challenges.’ . . . The president signed the Sequestration Transparency Act earlier this week, which will require his administration to detail within 30 days of signing the bill the required $1.2 trillion in cuts to domestic and defense programs if Congress doesn’t agree to a deficit-reduction plan by January 2 of next year. This timeframe means Obama will need to report the effects to Congress by Labor Day weekend, also the beginning of the Democratic National Convention.”
In the Weekly Republican Address, Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) discussed the consequences of potentially crippling defense cuts: “Unless the current law is changed, sequestration will force another half a trillion in cuts to defense programs over the next 10 years. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has described the effect on our national security as devastating, and I agree.
“Although the full impact of these cuts remains unknown, some very startling projections have emerged. Under sequestration: Army units would receive less training before they deploy to the Middle East. Marine Corps troop levels would be cut by 10 percent, leaving our Marines without sufficient manpower to meet even one major overseas operation. The Navy fleet would drop to 230 ships, the lowest number since World War I. And the Air Force would lose vital maintenance funds required to keep our fighters, bombers, and remotely-piloted aircraft flying around the world.
“The stakes are unmistakably high. Crippling defense cuts are just around the corner, and we have an obligation to make tough decisions on how to avoid sequestration and balance the budget long-term. Some defense manufacturers have already begun the process of issuing legally required layoff warning notices to shareholders and employees. According to multiple forecasts, up to 1 million jobs are at risk. One report estimates that my home state of Mississippi alone could lose more than 11,000 jobs. . . . Severe and indiscriminate cuts that harm our security are not the way to address America’s fiscal challenges.”
As Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said last month, “Just as the next President will take the oath on inauguration day, we too take an oath as Senators. We have the responsibility to raise and support Armies and provide and maintain a Navy. If we let sequestration as currently written go forward and do not act we will have failed. And that’s why I am so disappointed with the President’s failure of leadership on this issue, and that of Senate Democrats.
“Both House and Senate Republicans have offered proposals to replace the savings from sequestration with more thoughtful and targeted spending cuts. . . . [Recently,] Speaker Boehner, Majority Leader Cantor, Senator Kyl, and I sent a letter to the President asking him to work with us to find a bipartisan solution before the end of the fiscal year. With a $3.6 trillion annual budget, clearly there is a smarter, more thoughtful way to achieve at least $110 billion in savings. It is simply outrageous that this President and Senate Democrats are missing in action on this issue. We are committed to finding a solution on this before we recess for the election. Are they? Or are they committed to jeopardizing our national security? When will they sit down and work with us to find a solution?”