House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Adam Smith made the following statement at this morning's hearings, entitled "Department of Defense Plans for Sequestration: The Sequestration Transparency Act of 2012 Report and the Way Forward":
"I would like to thank our witnesses for attending this hearing today.
"I think everyone in this room can agree that sequestration must be prevented. It is clear that large, indiscriminate, across the board cuts to the federal budget would have serious implications for our national security and a wide range of other important federal programs.
"I agree with Secretary Panetta's description of sequestration as a "disaster in terms of the Defense Department." To date, no witness who has appeared before our committee in the numerous hearings we have devoted to the problem has disagreed with this characterization. I also share the view that informing the American people of sequestration's harmful effects may be useful in pushing Congress to fix the problem it created, but it is time to take action to stave off the impending, self-imposed disaster that would occur should sequestration be implemented.
"We have, without a doubt, established that sequestration would be bad. It's time to address our differences and work toward a solution. There is too much at stake.
"Deficit-reduction goals cannot be achieved through spending cuts alone, especially if those cuts are exclusive to non-defense programs. Everything needs to be carefully considered in devising a balanced approach. Revenues need to be increased, mandatory programs need to be brought in line with what we can afford over the long term, and domestic spending should be carefully examined to find real and substantial savings over time. Unfortunately, instead of working seriously to find such a balanced solution, the majority in Congress has refused to consider even the slightest revenue increases and focused instead on measures to kick the threat of sequester slightly down the road. That is just not good enough.
"We have differences, but they are not insurmountable. The solution to this problem is simple. Let's include realistic revenue options in a comprehensive plan for finding the $1.2 trillion in savings mandated by the Budget Control Act. I stand ready to work with each of my colleagues in reaching a timely and sensible compromise."