As a leading voice in the Senate to prevent massive across-the-board defense cuts slated for January, U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) today joined fellow Republican members of the Senate Armed Services Committee in filing an amendment to the Farm Bill that would require the Secretary of Defense to provide Congress with specifics on the potential impacts of the sequestration cuts. The measure would require the Pentagon to report to Congress by August 15, 2012, with specific details on how the pending reductions would affect national security. The amendment echoes a provision adopted unanimously by the full Armed Services Committee during recent consideration of the Fiscal Year 2013 defense authorization bill.
"Senior military leaders have said that defense sequestration cuts will inflict irreversible damage on the Department of Defense and weaken our national security," said Senator Ayotte, Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness. "I am particularly disturbed by the administration's recent indication that funds supporting our deployed troops in Afghanistan would be subject to these devastating cuts. We have a moral and constitutional responsibility to ensure that our warfighters have the equipment and resources they need to protect themselves and accomplish their missions. While savings certainly can be found at the Pentagon, I will continue to do everything in my power to prevent these drastic cuts from occurring."
In a May 25 letter to House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, the president's acting budget director said that overseas contingency operations (OCO) funding would be subject to sequestration cuts. OCO funding supports deployed troops in Afghanistan, including daily combat operations, resupply, forward operating base support services, food service, and procurement of ammunition.
Senator Ayotte is also cosponsoring a stand-alone bill, the Sequestration Transparency Act of 2012, that would require the president to submit a report to Congress by July 9 that includes an estimate of the sequestration percentages and amounts necessary to achieve the required reduction for each spending category in the defense budget on an account and project level.