U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ), along with all Republican members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, today filed an amendment to the Farm Bill requiring the Secretary of Defense to provide to Congress a detailed report by August 15, 2012 on the specific impacts on national security if an additional nearly $500 billion in automatic budget cuts, also known as sequestration, are imposed upon the Department of Defense less than six months from today. The amendment mirrors a provision adopted unanimously by the full Senate Armed Services Committee during its markup of the FY 2013 National Defense Authorization Act.
Senator McCain released the following statement on the legislation:
"Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has stated that the massive defense cuts set to take effect less than six months from today would "inflict severe damage to our national defense for generations' -- an assessment echoed by the Secretaries of the Army, Navy, and Air Force as well as all of our senior military leaders. These cuts would ripple through our fragile economy by eliminating hundreds of thousands of jobs in the defense industry, hitting countless communities around our nation that are already struggling in these tough economic times.
"Congress needs an official, detailed assessment from the Department on the serious damage to military readiness and the increased risk to our military operations in Afghanistan which would result if sequestration is allowed to occur due to the inability of the Administration and Congress to enact an alternative deficit reduction plan. The hundreds of thousands of American workers whose jobs are at risk today deserve our immediate attention to the task of averting this potential national security and economic disaster. Further, we must fully understand how the Administration's recent decision to subject our overseas contingency operations (OCO) funding to sequester -- potentially cutting as much as $8 billion from funds supporting our warfighters in Afghanistan -- may impact our ongoing military commitments and our ability to keep our troops safe.
"We cannot wait until after the election to act. According the an article in The Wall Street Journal this morning, defense companies will soon be issuing layoff notices to their employees and hiring at many of these companies has halted in anticipation of cancelled contracts and lost business opportunities. And we all know that nothing good ever comes out of a lame duck session.
"I intend to offer this amendment when the Farm Bill is considered, and if it is not adopted on that bill, I will offer it to the next available bill to ensure that this vitally important information is provided to Congress."