U.S. Senator Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), on Friday, called on President Obama and members of the Senate to reach a solution to the defense cuts mandated by sequestration that are set to take effect in January. A report issued Friday by the Office of Management and Budget detailed the cuts required under sequestration in FY2013, including $54.6 billion in reductions to defense spending. The report was required by the Sequestration Transparency Act, which Congress passed in July.
"Today's report confirms that these defense cuts will hurt troop readiness and leave our military unable to respond to potential threats," said Wicker, a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. "Our military readiness will be devastated under the sequestration's across the board 9.6 percent cuts to non-discretionary defense programs -- from the procurement of vital supplies to the acquisition of next-generation ships and aircraft. This is a dire call to action and should be heeded by the President and members of the Senate who have been unwilling to discuss solutions to this point."
Sequestration cuts were mandated by the Budget Control Act, which was enacted last year. The law required immediate spending reductions and created a Select Committee that was tasked with finding at least an additional $1.5 trillion in savings. Failure of that committee to produce a bipartisan plan triggered the sequestration cuts. According to one report, more than 11,000 jobs in Mississippi alone are at stake.
Wicker delivered the Republican weekly address last month, outlining the consequences of failing to address the defense cuts. He pointed to specific impacts to our Armed Forces:
* Army units would receive less training before they deploy to the Middle East.
* Marine Corps troop levels would be cut by 10 percent, leaving our Marines without sufficient manpower to meet even one major overseas operation.
* The Navy fleet would drop to 230 ships, the lowest number since World War I.
* And the Air Force would lose vital maintenance funds required to keep our fighters, bombers, and remotely-piloted aircraft flying around the world.
In part, Wicker said, "The stakes are unmistakably high. Crippling defense cuts are just around the corner, and we have an obligation to make tough decisions on how to avoid sequestration and balance the budget long-term."