By Representative Lynn Westmoreland
As most of you know, I voted against the Budget Control Act last year. And one of the main reasons I did was because I didn't trust the "super committee' to actually come to any kind of an agreement -- and I knew the potential impact sequestration would have on our national defense. Well, we are here now and my concerns have become a reality. Yet, with these mandatory sequestration cuts looming just five months away, President Obama has not signaled exactly how he plans to enact those cuts at the federal agencies affected. That's why the House had to act last week to pass a bill demanding he report back to us exactly how he plans to execute the $1.2 trillion in cuts required under the Budget Control Act. The bill passed with almost unprecedented support by a vote of 414-2.
And I'm pleased to report today that the Senate has joined the House in calling on the president to submit a plan to Congress and the American people about how exactly these sequestration cuts will affect this government. Given how serious the cuts are, I'm pleased that the House and Senate sent a resounding message to the president that he can't keep his budget plan hidden any longer.
While we don't know specifics, we do know the Budget Control Act requires about $109 billion in cuts each year for the next 10 years. Half of these cuts will come from defense, and half will come from the rest of the discretionary budget. That means the defense budget will see an automatic 10% cut and the discretionary budget will see an automatic 8% cut beginning January 3, 2013. Unless we can do something to stop it.
Until we know how sequestration will occur, our fighting men and women will be left in a state of uncertainty. Millions of jobs will also be affected by this uncertainty, as the businesses that produce vital equipment for our soldiers will be paralyzed. We can't leave our soldiers and their supporters in the dark. House Republicans have already acted to give an alternative plan on how to approach these cuts the right way with the Sequestration Replacement Reconciliation Act. I hope the president will acknowledge how serious sequestration is and act quickly to unveil his plan.