Today U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) denounced Congress' current inability to arrive at "a long-term solution to address this country's deficits" at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on the impact of budget sequestration. Shaheen also renewed her call for bipartisan action to avoid the impact of automatic budget cuts. Deputy Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey and each member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff testified at this morning's hearing.
"The fact we have not [come up with a long-term solution] means each and every one of us in Congress should take a second look at what our jobs are in this body," Shaheen said. "The fact is, we can come up with a long-term solution that avoids the impact of sequestration, that avoids the devastating toll all of you are talking about this morning on our military and on our defense. In order to do that, we've all got to put aside some of our sacred cows and be flexible."
Shaheen raised particular concern over the impact sequestration could have on the country's industrial base, citing the potential devastation on New Hampshire small businesses that constitute a core part of the national defense industrial base.
Shaheen recently joined Republican Senator Susan Collins (ME) to call on Senate Leadership to protect Portsmouth Naval Shipyard from automatic budget cuts and avert sequestration which would have a serious national defense and economic implications. As a member of the Senate Armed Services, Shaheen also questioned the impacts sequestration could have on emerging threats in northern Africa during a committee hearing last week on the Benghazi attack on an American consulate that killed four Americans last fall.
"When it comes to our budget we need a comprehensive approach that is fair and balanced with respect to cuts and new revenues," Shaheen added. "I will do everything I can to be flexible about that and to be willing to look at all the options that we have to get a solution because this is not just about our military readiness and this country's national security, it's also about the future of the economy in this country."