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Providing for Consideration of H.R. 444, Require Presidential Leadership and No Deficit Act

Floor Speech

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. COURTNEY. Mr. Speaker, in 23 days, by law, an indiscriminate chain saw is going to go through all quarters, all sectors of the American Government.

Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta on Sunday, along with General Martin Dempsey, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, very bluntly warned this country that if sequestration goes into effect, America's military readiness is going to be damaged in a very critical way. The Navy has told us specifically what this means: 23 ships whose repairs are scheduled will be cancelled; 55 percent of flying hours on aircraft carriers will be cancelled; 22 percent of steaming days for the rest of the U.S. fleet will be cancelled; submarine deployments will be cancelled.

Today, right now, we have the USS Stennis and the USS Eisenhower stationed in the Middle East making sure that our allies, Israel, Turkey, critical missions like protecting the Straits of Hormuz, they have to have aircraft that can fly. They can't cancel 55 percent of their flight time and expect to carry out their mission. Yet in 23 days, because of inaction by this Chamber, we are putting, again, America's national security interests at risk.

The Bipartisan Policy Center, founded by Bob Dole and Tom Daschle, has told us we will lose a million jobs if sequestration goes through. So those shipyards that are planning to do that repair work, they're basically going to get layoff slips.

And we are debating a bill today that has absolutely no connection to those realities. This is a pure political stunt. It has no bearing in terms of whether or not the military readiness of this country or the economic recovery that's headed in the right direction right now is going to be protected and preserved. That's our job. That's what we should be focused on here today. And denying the Van Hollen amendment, which would replace that sequestration, is why this rule must be defeated.

I urge Members of this Chamber to vote ``no'' on this rule.

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