U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) highlighted a study released today by a George Mason University professor that predicts over 2 million jobs will be lost - including 6,300 in New Hampshire - if the president and Congress can't find a way to avoid across-the-board "sequestration" spending cuts slated to begin in January. Dr. Stephen Fuller, who prepared the report, said that unemployment nationally will climb above nine percent if the cuts occur - pushing the U.S. economy into recession. Senator Ayotte joined Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton (D), San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders (R), Dr. Fuller, and representatives from the Aerospace Industries Association at a press conference today where the report was officially released.
Because the so-called "Super Committee" failed last fall to reach an agreement on deficit reduction, $1.2 trillion in defense and non-defense spending cuts will take effect in January unless Congress acts to stop them. The reductions were mandated as part of last summer's debt limit agreement, which Senator Ayotte voted against.
The study concludes that in just the first year of implementation, the automatic spending cuts will reduce the nation's Gross Domestic Product by $215 billion; decrease personal earnings in the workforce by $109.4 billion; and cost the U.S. economy 2.14 million jobs.
"Military leaders have been clear that defense sequestration will deprive our troops of the resources they need and undermine our national security for generations," said Senator Ayotte, who spoke at a press conference unveiling the report. "This new study underscores that sequestration will also crush our economy, devastate our defense industrial base, and cost jobs in New Hampshire and across the country."
She continued: "I have visited small and large defense contractors across our state to highlight the threat sequestration poses to national security and our economic recovery. While savings can be found in the defense budget, sequestration takes a meat ax approach that will make us less safe. Republicans and Democrats must work together now to find alternate spending reductions that will not add a national security crisis to our fiscal crisis."
Senator Ayotte is an original co-sponsor of the "Down Payment to Protect National Security Act," legislation that would prevent draconian, across the board defense cuts by finding more responsible budget savings in other areas of the federal government.
Dr. Fuller, who serves as the Director for the Center of Regional Analysis at George Mason University, prepared the report in conjunction with Chmura Economics and Analytics on behalf of the Aerospace Industries Association.