You probably remember the Super Committee from last year and how it failed to find $1.2 trillion in spending cuts. Since the Super Committee could not come to an agreement, we now face a “sequester” that will enact across-the-board cuts - including a $500 billion cut to our defense budget. The sequestration option was intended to be so serious that it would force the Super Committee to get the job done. The worst possible situation happened and now the consequences of sequestration are set to take effect this coming January.
Sequestration will deliver a devastating blow to our nation’s defense capabilities, causing major reductions such as two rounds of Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) and decreasing our Navy’s ship fleet to the smallest size it’s been since 1915. The sequester will also limit many domestic priorities, such as cutting cancer research at the National Institute of Health nearly in half, and preventing 75,000 children from receiving Head Start benefits.
While Congress and the Administration both agree that this type of across-the-board cut is bad policy, there is no agreement on which specific areas of the government need to be trimmed or eliminated. It is unfortunate, but we have reached a place where nothing will solve the gridlock in Washington over spending cuts except an election. The American people will vote in November, but newly elected officials will not take office until the end of January. By this time, sequestration will have already gone into effect.
At this point, the most responsible thing we can do is pass legislation that will spare our nation’s defense capabilities, preserve many other important domestic priorities, and give the next Congress an opportunity to enact the will of the American people. This week the House took action to do just that, passing legislation that would replace the first year of sequestration with smart, targeted cost-saving measures that eliminate waste, fraud and abuse. If passed by the Senate and signed into law by President Obama, this legislation will allow the next Congress to enact the serious long-term reforms that are necessary to replace the sequester in its entirety.
The Super Committee could not get the job done because it is so difficult to agree on spending cuts. If we sit back now and allow the sequester to occur for that very same reason, we will have tied the hands of the next Congress and deprived the American people of their opportunity to choose the path forward. The bill we passed makes tough choices now, and I was proud to support it. You can be assured that I will continue fighting to enact smart, targeted cost saving measures to replace sequestration.
Member of Congress