Two weeks ago, I wrote about the approaching "fiscal cliff" in this newsletter. If you'll recall, half of that cliff was due to tax hikes, and the other half was because of automatic spending cuts that will take place in January of 2013, unless Congress can find other savings. These automatic spending cuts, known as the sequester, could reduce our national defense spending by as much as 10 percent. That would be devastating to our ability to defend ourselves. Even our Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta, compared these across-the-board defense cuts to, "shooting ourselves in the head." My colleague, U.S. Representative and retired Army Lieutenant Colonel Allen West of Florida explained that the cuts would slash our armed forces: "We would have the smallest ground force since 1940, the smallest Navy since 1915, and the smallest tactical fighter force in the history of the modern United States Air Force." You don't need to be a military expert to see why our national security depends on us being able to prevent these cuts.
The question is how. My Republican colleagues in the House and I have been working on legislation to reduce our debt through more targeted, common-sense reforms. Unfortunately, the Democrats in the Senate and the White House have shown little interest in working with us. If nothing changes before January 1st, we will be faced with these sequester cuts. The House is continuing to work to prevent that from happening. Last week, we passed the National Security and Job Protection Act, which would repeal the across-the-board defense cuts. I strongly oppose playing political games at the expense of our men and women in uniform. Congress must cut our deficit responsibly, but not in a way that puts our national security at risk.