U.S. Representative Martha Roby (R-AL) today called for action to avoid looming military budget cuts known as "sequestration," saying there is a "smarter way" to reduce government spending than slashing the defense budget and threatening national security.
Rep. Roby, chair of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, voted against the August 2011 Budget Control Act that threatened the sequestration military cuts and has repeatedly spoken out about the potential harm they pose to national security.
"What I suspected about this plan from the beginning has been confirmed: there is a smarter way to reduce government spending than to slash the military budget and hollow out our nation's defense forces," Rep. Roby said. "I voted against the Budget Control Act, which included the President's sequestration plan, because I feared then exactly what is happening now. It opened the door to dangerous and disproportionate cuts to the military."
Under the Budget Control Act, the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction was formed to find a way to reduce the deficit by $1.2 trillion. A White House-proposed provision in the law triggered automatic $1.2 trillion in cuts, half of which would come from military spending, in the event the Committee could not reach a solution that passed both houses of Congress.
"I have twice voted for House-passed plans to replace the military sequestration cuts with targeted, reasonable reductions in spending based on our budget priorities. But, the Senate never acted on those bills, and the President refuses to provide serious leadership on this issue. As a result, the military cuts once thought to be unthinkable now appear more likely.
"President Obama proposed sequestration and now he is using it as an opportunity to raise taxes even more. It is unconscionable that our Commander-in-Chief would use the military and the security of our country as leverage in his ideological crusade for higher taxes."
Rep. Roby continues to support efforts in the House to find a commonsense alternative to sequestration, and said she hopes the Senate and White House will join those efforts before it is too late.
"I firmly believe that we should reduce the size of government and cut federal spending we can't afford. However, there is a smarter way to do so than to take 50 percent of the cuts from the military when defense spending represents only 20 percent of the federal budget. That's disproportionate, especially when you consider military spending has already been cut by $487 billion over the next ten years.
"There are savings to be found in the Pentagon's budget, and I have already voted to trim defense spending. But, the President's sequestration military cuts go much too far, much too quickly. Everyone knows the true driver of our longer term debt is mandatory entitlement spending, so any serious plan to get future spending under control has to include reforms to entitlement programs."
-Roll call vote on the Budget Control Act from August 1, 2011: http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2011/roll690.xml
-Rep. Roby's comments after the Budget Control Act vote https://roby.house.gov/press-release/roby-comments-debt-limit-vote
-Rep. Roby's statement expressing frustration at President Obama's "mixed signals" on sequestration last fall: https://roby.house.gov/press-release/obama%E2%80%99s-mixed-signals-sequestration-harm-efforts-avoid-defense-cuts