Ms. SINEMA. Madam Speaker, my State, Arizona, has made tremendous sacrifices in the struggle to stand strong through our Nation's fiscal crisis. Today, Arizona is last in education funding, last in retail growth, and first in home foreclosures.
I'm proud to say, however, that Arizonans are resilient. We are tough. Our State was forged out of rugged frontierism--we're independent and we have deep respect for the traditions that make us Arizona. We've never shrunk from a tough fight and we've never been afraid to roll up our sleeves and work hard. Right now, we're working hard to climb out of the recession that we all face together. It hasn't been easy, but we're doing it.
Arizona is sixth in the Nation for defense sector jobs. Most of these are private sector jobs. Employers have come to Arizona because of our people and our work ethic. We innovate and compete alongside booming defense States like California, Texas, and Virginia. Employers are hiring thousands of skilled workers from our communities. Our State is a vital resource to our Nation's military readiness. We were able to get there through hard work, innovative thought, and intense collaboration between community and industry partners.
In the greater Phoenix area, our economy is currently growing steadily at the rate of 3 percent, but the deep cuts, known as the sequester, would cut our growth in half. In fact, Arizona's potential job losses caused by sequestration rank 13th among all U.S. States. These losses will be felt by families working in Arizona's defense sector and military base operations. These are skilled, middle class jobs.
Of the nearly 50,000 jobs that we expect to lose in Arizona from the sequester, approximately 35,000 are linked to military readiness and base operations. Furloughs will affect 10,000 civilian workers, and Arizonans will experience a devastating $52 million pay cut.
I come home each week and I talk about the work that we're doing in Congress, but most of the time I come home to listen. A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to listen to plant engineers at General Dynamics in Scottsdale. They showed me the high-tech and innovative defense products that were coming right out of our own community, built and programmed by our friends and neighbors. This type of innovation in our own backyard is the future of our State, and that future is in danger.
Last week, a bipartisan group of city elected officials, business leaders, and community advocates gave me a message to bring back to Congress. I'm proud of their joint effort, and I'm proud of their service to our community. I consider it a privilege to deliver their message.
In our State, we are concerned that Congress will turn the clock back on Arizona's hard work and progress. We are worried about hardworking families losing their jobs.
As the granddaughter of a World War II veteran and a proud sister of a gunner's mate in the U.S. Navy today, I remember every day that it is our moral duty to do right by the men and women in uniform who risk their lives to keep us safe.
Avoiding the sequestration should not be about partisanship or finger-pointing; it's about jobs. It's that simple. I stand with the dean of our State's delegation, Senator John McCain, when I say that this sequester will be devastating for Arizona. It's bad for hardworking Americans, and it turns a blind eye to my State's proud efforts and proven perseverance. I affirm my commitment to working with anybody who's willing to put our differences aside and put the people we serve first.
We still have time to stop this. Let's roll up our sleeves together and get the work done.