House GOP calls for immediate answers to sequestration cuts
Published: June 19, 2012
WASHINGTON – In a new video released Tuesday, Republican leaders from the House Armed Services Committee predict massive civilian layoffs and cuts in military end strength starting in July if lawmakers don’t find alternatives to billions in automatic defense funding cuts set for January.
The committee for months has railed against the so-called sequestration cuts, passed by lawmakers last summer. Lawmakers from both parties have argued that the $500 billion in defense budget reductions over the next 10 years could cripple the force, but haven’t had serious discussions on a compromise solution.
Last week, Senate Armed Services Chairman Carl Levin, D-Mich., said if lawmakers wait until after the November presidential elections to find an answer, it may be too late for defense contractors. Industry leaders have hinted that they may send out layoff notices to workers just weeks before the election if the cuts are still looming then.
In the video, Committee chairman Rep. Buck McKeon echoes those concerns idea, stating “to wait until the next election, or even next month, is to accept sequestration and all that it brings.”
But the video offers alternative plans backed only by Republican lawmakers, including one passed in the House which would cut programs for families living in poverty and the unemployed. Democrats have insisted that new taxes or closing of tax loopholes must be included in the plan, and refused to pile additional cuts on entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicaid.