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Ms. AYOTTE. I join with my colleagues over the concern, deep concern that keeps me up at night about sequestration, because we cannot do this to our national security. Both sides of the aisle have to come together. We need leadership from our Commander in Chief on this issue.
To put it in perspective, I asked the Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps what the impact of sequestration would be on the Marines. Do you know what he told me? That the Marine Corps of the United States of America would be unable to respond to one major contingency. Talk about putting our country at risk and putting ourselves in a situation where unfortunately there are still so many risks around the world that our country needs to be protected from. To think that our Marine Corps would not be able to respond to one major contingency. It is outrageous. It cries for bipartisan leadership on this issue, particularly leadership from our Commander in Chief.
To put it in perspective, it is not just an issue of our national security. You would think that would be enough to
bring people to the table. But we are talking about jobs across this country. The National Association of Manufacturers has estimated it would be nearly 1 million jobs; George Mason University, the same.
To my colleagues, looking around here, polling some States in terms of the estimate of job losses: 24,000 for Alabama. When we look at a State like Missouri, 31,000, when we look at a State, for example, like Florida, 39,000 for Florida. This is an issue that will hit every State in this Nation.
But, most importantly, what I am concerned about is it is going to hit our military in a way that we break faith with our troops. In fact, General Odienero of our Army has said he would have to cut an additional 100,000 troops from our Army on top of the reductions we are making right now, approximately 72,000, and 50 percent of it would have to come from the Guard and Reserve.
You think about the important function not only of protecting our country, we could not have fought in Afghanistan or Iraq without our Guard and Reserve. I am the proud wife of someone who served in the Iraq war. I can tell you, it is not only the function that our Guard and Reserve play in terms of protecting us overseas, but they also perform a very important homeland function. Every Governor in this country will be deeply concerned if we are going to diminish our Guard and Reserve. So this is an issue that cries out for leadership from both sides of the aisle. I look forward to working with my colleagues on this now. It cannot wait until a lameduck session. We cannot put our national security in the balance, and nearly 1 million jobs at issue, to a lameduck session. This is something we should resolve right now.
I appreciate that my colleagues have come to the floor to talk about this issue today. We must get this done on behalf of the American people and our men and women in uniform.
I yield the floor.
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