Congressman Bobby Schilling (IL-17) today released the following statement as the White House is ignoring the deadline to comply with H.R. 5872, the Sequestration Transparency Act, legislation President Barack Obama signed into law requiring his Administration to detail the impact of the sequester. Administration officials including Defense Secretary Leon Panetta have repeatedly described the cuts' impact on our national security as "devastating," though they have been keeping plans for its implementation hidden from public view as the date of implementation looms.
"These cuts are set to begin in just four months, but defense manufacturers and folks at the Rock Island Arsenal have yet to learn if or how they will be impacted," Schilling said. "We need the President to lead and present the American people with his plan for these defense cuts as required by the law he himself signed."
A study released in June by the National Association of Manufacturers indicates that across-the-board budget cuts to the Department of Defense scheduled to begin in January 2013 would cost approximately 1 million jobs at a time when the nation's unemployment has remained at or above 8 percent for 43 consecutive months. According to the NAM study, Illinois, with its 8.7 percent unemployment rate, is among the top 10 states to be impacted by job losses, with more than 35,400 jobs on the line in the next two years alone.
With Schilling's support, the House of Representatives in May passed H.R. 5652, the Sequester Replacement Reconciliation Act, which would provide mandatory spending cuts to reduce the deficit and replace automatic cuts to discretionary spending in 2013 under the Budget Control Act. It also passed H.R. 4310, the Fiscal Year 2013 National Defense Authorization Act. To date, the Senate has passed neither.
"This inaction by the Senate and by the Administration is just inexcusable," Schilling said. "With the Senate having gone more than three years without a budget, sitting on more than 30 bipartisan House-passed jobs bills, failing to advance a single appropriations bill this year, and not yet passing its version of the defense bill, enough is enough. I strongly urge folks who care about the future of the Rock Island Arsenal, our region's unbeatable defense manufacturing capabilities, and our national defense to speak up and make your voices heard. These cuts are avoidable, but only if our leaders put partisan politics aside, come together, and do the job they were elected to do for our community, our state, and the security of our great nation."