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Mr. McKEON. I thank the gentleman for yielding, and I thank him for his efforts on this bill.
Today, we will send to the Senate a way out of this fiscal crisis. Rather than react in defense of the President's position, I urge the other body to treat this package as a good faith effort to protect America's middle class and small businesses from harmful tax hikes and to reduce spending to resolve sequestration. We know that the President is willing to put adjustments to entitlements on the table. This proposal provides a framework for us to reach bipartisan agreement on how to do that.
If we fail to act, on January 2 a hammer's strike will fall on America's Armed Forces. It will be one of the most significant and damaging blows to our troops and our national security in history. Without even the stroke of a pen, sequester will do incredible injury to a military that took generations to build. It will take generations to fix. And the blow will not come from an enemy, but from our own inability to fulfill the basic obligations of governance.
We must stop substituting regular order with brinksmanship. We must not allow impasses of our own doing to harm our Armed Forces. I call on the President to lead rather than create a new crisis. We cannot stand idly by while we have American men and women fighting to keep us safe across the globe. It's a disgrace that the President decided to use them as pawns in these negotiations, and it's a disgrace that we haven't managed to rescue them yet.
My leadership made me a promise: sequestration would not happen. Today, for the sixth time, they are bringing a measure to the floor in an effort to keep that promise. I thank them for what they have done and wish we could have done even more. The American people were also promised that sequestration would not happen. Many times over his campaign and in the presence of our troops and veterans the Commander in Chief made that promise: sequestration would not happen. Yet as we stand here today, days away from the catastrophe, the President of the United States hasn't lifted a finger to keep that promise.
If the Senate fails to take our offer seriously, we will likely return to Washington after Christmas. But the 68,000 American troops in Afghanistan don't have that luxury. We ask them to bear the pain of combat. I hope we will not ask them to shoulder the weight of Washington's irresponsibility. Every man and woman who serves in this Chamber, in the one down the hall, and in the Oval Office down the street are the stewards of a sacred trust. We have all put our left hand on a Bible and raised our right hand and made a sacred pledge. Part of that pledge is to defend the men and women who put their lives on the line to defend us. If we allow the year to end without resolving sequestration, we will all be in direct and unforgivable violation of that trust. I have debated and reasoned with my colleagues, and now I beg you, do not let the year end without ending sequestration.
I urge passage of this measure.
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