Congressman Paul Cook (R- CA) introduced H.R. 857, the "Protect Troops at War Act of 2013." This bill is Congressman Cook's first piece of legislation as a U.S. Representative.
Cook's bill would eliminate the Department of Defense sequestration for fiscal years 2013 and 2014.
Cook stated, "As long as we have troops in harm's way, cutting the defense budget is not acceptable. Sequestration endangers their lives and weakens our national security against our enemies. Parts of the world are increasingly unstable, and deep defense cuts right now are irresponsible."
According to the Heritage Institute, the sequestration "falls most heavily on defense with over 50% of the cuts impacting national security."
The House Armed Services Committee estimates that the sequestration would have a catastrophic effect on defense, resulting in the smallest ground force since 1940 and causing 100,000 soldiers, sailors, Marines, and airmen to be separated from service.
Concern about the impact of sequestration on national security is bipartisan; Defense Secretary Leon Panetta recently described the impact of sequestration to our nation's defense as "putting a gun to our head."
House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon (R- CA) has stated "to try to break the back of the recession on the backs of the military means who will have our back the next time we're attacked?"
In addition to the crippling effect on troop levels and national security, sequestration would also have a devastating economic impact. The cuts could result in the loss of over 1 million private sector jobs as well as furloughs for Department of Defense civilians. Additional base closures are also possible.
Cook served as an infantry officer and retired after 26 years as a Colonel in the US Marine Corps. During his time in combat, he was awarded the Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts.