The House has passed H.Res. 648, a resolution to stop the draconian cuts to defense spending that will be implemented beginning in January due to the deal struck under the Budget Control Act. Because of the possibility of these cuts, Congressman Westmoreland opposed the Budget Control Act, legislation passed last year to raise the debt ceiling. When the "super committee' established under the Budget Control Act failed to agree to the $1.2 trillion in cuts required under the law, across-the-board spending cuts known as sequestration took effect. Sequestration will result in a 10 percent automatic cut in Department of Defense spending as well as an 8 percent reduction in domestic programs.
"I support cutting federal spending -- but not at the expense of our men and women in the armed forces," stated Westmoreland. "That is why I opposed the Budget Control Act. Congressional Democrats and the White House have been fighting to shrink our military power and that deal gave them just the ammunition they needed. We all knew the so-called "super committee' was destined to fail from the start and Democrats and the president would get exactly what they wanted -- drastic cuts to our military."
Some of the consequences of these cuts to our military include:
200,000 soldiers and Marines separated from service, bringing our force well below our pre-9/11 levels;
Ability to respond to contingencies in North Korea or Iran at jeopardy;
The smallest ground force since 1940;
A fleet of fewer than 230 ships, the smallest level since 1915;
The smallest tactical fighter force in the history of the Air Force;
Our nuclear triad that has kept the US and 30 of our allies safe for decades will be in jeopardy;
Reductions of 20 percent in defense civilian personnel; and
Two BRAC rounds of base closings.
[House Armed Services Committee Memo "Assessment of Impacts of Budget Cuts", 9/22/2011]
"One of the most prominent responsibilities of the federal government as established in the U.S. Constitution is to provide for the common defense," stated Westmoreland. "It is a responsibility I take very seriously. The men and women in our armed forces risk their lives every day defending our freedom at home and around the world. These drastic cuts to our military would have wide-ranging effects on our national security. Yet, under sequestration, defense would make up 43 percent of the cuts but only makes up 24 percent of all federal spending. At the same time, entitlements would make up 15 percent of the cuts but constitute 39 percent of all federal spending. That is a hugely unfair disadvantage to our military. That is why we needed to pass this reconciliation bill and why I supported it."
The legislation passed the House by a vote of 233-183. Even though Senate Democrats were warned just this week by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke that the country was headed towards a "fiscal cliff," they have made no moves towards passing any legislation similar to this to stop the impending sequestration.