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Statement on Failure of Super Committee and Defense Cuts


Location: Washington, DC

U.S. Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) today issued the following statement on the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction's announcement that it has failed to reach an agreement to reduce the debt, and the roughly $1 trillion of mandatory cuts to defense spending scheduled to go into effect as a result.

"We are disappointed by the announcement today that the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction has failed to reach an agreement to reduce the nation's debt. In addition to the negative consequences to our fragile economy, the Super Committee's failure will trigger a draconian sequester of $600 billion in defense spending in addition to the more than $450 billion that has already been imposed on the Department of Defense. These cuts are in addition to the $178 billion in spending reductions and efficiencies taken by former Secretary of Defense Gates over the next five-year defense plan, meaning that the impact of the Super Committee's collapse will be a combined $1.1 trillion in cuts to defense spending over the next ten years.

"As every military and civilian defense official has stated, these cuts represent a threat to the national security interests of the United States, and cannot be allowed to occur.

"Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta called cuts of this size and scale "devastating,' and would place the United States in "substantial risk of not being able to meet our defense needs.' Secretary Panetta wrote that after ten years, these cuts would leave our nation with "the smallest ground force since 1940, the smallest number of ships since 1915, and the smallest Air Force in its history.' General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, stated that these "across the board cuts would wreak havoc on our plans and programs … we need to avoid self-inflicted wounds to our nation's security.' General Ray Odierno, Chief of Staff of the Army, said before Congress, "Cuts of this magnitude would be catastrophic to the military and … would significantly reduce our capability and capacity to assure our partners abroad, respond to crises, and deter our potential adversaries, while threatening the readiness of our All-Volunteer Force.'

"We are now working on a plan to minimize the impact of the sequester on the Department of Defense and to ensure that any cuts do not leave us with a hollow military. The first responsibility of any government is to provide for the common defense; we will pursue all options to make certain that we continue to fulfill that solemn commitment."

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