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Mrs. HARTZLER. It's time for our Nation to get our priorities right; and according to the Constitution, there are only a few things that we should be doing here in Congress. One of them is to provide for the common defense; but, sadly, this substitute bill guts our national defense and leaves us very vulnerable as a Nation. Let's review where we've been.
A couple of years ago, Defense made some efficiencies under Secretary Gates and cut $78 billion. Then with the Budget Control Act, immediately, $487 billion more was cut from the national defense. Then sequestration has kicked in, which is another $500 billion from national defense, and this proposed budget here goes even beyond that.
Our Republican budget replaces cuts from the sequester back into the national defense and keeps it a priority. It makes sure our men and women in uniform have what they need, but this budget cuts an additional $658 billion from the Pentagon. Even Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta earlier said that, with sequestration, it would hollow out our forces. So, certainly, this would do even more.
With sequestration, if we don't replace it, which this budget does not, we're going to see 100,000 fewer soldiers and marines; the Navy will likely have to mothball 60 ships, including two carrier battle groups while a quarter of our bombers would be jeopardized; we would also see the elimination of 250 fighter aircraft and higher fees for military health care. Now, that's not providing for the common defense. In addition, if sequestration is not overturned, for which our budget allows, then we could see up to 2.1 million jobs cut.
They're calling this budget a Back to Work budget, but when our men and women in uniform come back from Afghanistan, instead of being met with ticker tape parades, they're going to be met with pink slips. It's wrong, and we can do better.
There are serious ramifications. Our budget replaces those cuts, and it's needed. There are threats in the world, and this is no time for us to be cutting our defense. We have Iran threatening not only our neighbors, but us; and it is getting closer to having a nuclear capability. We have even this week North Korea shooting off a missile and putting out YouTube videos of that missile coming here and hitting not only cities of the United States, but even the U.S. Capitol. In addition to that, there are radical Islamists around the world who still want to harm us.
Now is not the time to cut our national defense. We need to keep our priorities right. We need to provide for the common defense. We need to pass the Republican House budget and reject this substitute that will hollow out our forces and endanger our families.
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