Many folks across East Alabama have contacted me with their concerns about sequestration and its potentially far-reaching effects.
The president's sequestration plan was originally put into place to be a last resort with such crippling budget cuts across the board, that Congress and the president would be forced to reach an agreement to replace them.
As you know, that didn't happen. No agreement was reached, and as of March 1st, the sequester began.
It is still too early to know all of sequestration's consequences. But one big part of our nation already feeling the pain of the sequester is our military, its supporting workforce, and our overall defense industrial base.
Last week I voted for a bill, known as the Continuing Resolution, to help provide more flexibility for the Pentagon while keeping overall spending at the lower sequester level. I am hopeful the Senate will act on this bill soon.
The sequester debate is driven by excessive Federal spending. Right now, our nation owes over $16.6 trillion. Washington cannot spend at this rate forever, but it also must not harm our national security as spending gets cut.
Having the massive Federal bureaucracy, which is far too large in the first place, implement the sequester cuts is a challenging task. But in some cases I am concerned the Obama Administration using it to drive a political agenda.
Some of you may have heard that Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director John Morton approved the release of thousands of illegal immigrants from detention centers across the country in anticipation of the sequester cuts.
This disregard for our nation's safety and security baffles me. These immigrants have already broken the law by entering our country illegally, and they should not be on our streets. This is the latest in a series of poor decisions by Director Morton and I have called on him to resign.
We face tough times ahead as a nation, but we must face these problems head on. President Obama and Congress must continue to work together to find long-term spending reforms that don't jeopardize our safety or defense.