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Requiring Transparency from the Administration on Spending Decisions


Location: Unknown

Dear Friends,

Last August, the Budget Control Act was signed into law as an 11th hour measure to avoid the United States government from defaulting on its loans and exceeding the federal debt-limit ceiling. As part of the provisions of this law, in January 2013 there will be mandatory spending reductions across the board for the next nine years, triggering a reduction in spending of $1.2 trillion. These across-the-board cuts will result in a 10% reduction in defense programs spending, which would amount to nearly $55 billion per year.

Not only would these cuts be draconian and devastating -- not to mention arbitrary -- to our military and national defense infrastructure, but their effects would reverberate in each and every community across America. Florida will not be immune to their devastating effects, and will be forced to bear a large brunt of the burden.

George Mason University's Center for Regional Analysis published its findings on the economic impact of the sequestration's projected spending cuts on military equipment - just one area of the automatic cuts. Its findings are harrowing indeed. They predict that if these mandatory cuts go into effect, the country will lose over one million private sector jobs, nearly 40,000 of which would be right here in the state of Florida. That will result in almost $60 billion in lost earnings -- with $2.3 billion in Florida alone. In terms of both job losses and lost wages, Florida will be the fourth hardest state in the United States.

Another analysis by the Center for Security Policy says that Florida could lose at least 54,000 jobs. And it is not just a few reports. All of the reports say the same: we are facing an employment and economic crisis if the sequestration goes into effect. In total, the economic impact to our state, and our country, will be devastating.

But it won't just be the economy that gets hit hard should the sequestration go into effect. Our armed services are facing severe cuts that could seriously hamper our ability to defend ourselves, and continue to be the world's strongest military force. From Secretary of Defense Panetta, to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, General Dempsey, and military leaders nationwide, they all agree: cuts of this magnitude would be catastrophic and would hollow out our military force, leaving us with the smallest military force since before World War II.

With the threat of attack very real, and growing, we simply cannot afford such a reduction in force, and the American people deserve to know exactly how this sequestration will affect them.

That is why the House passed the Sequestration Transparency Act earlier this week. This bill will require the Administration to detail the specific cuts they would make to the Defense Department and discretionary spending to fulfill the terms of the sequester. This will paint a better picture for the American people so that they can see exactly what this sequester will do to our armed services and our economy.

The American people should know how the sequester will affect them, and this bill will force the Administration to be more transparent in its spending decisions.


Ileana Ros-Lehtinen
Member of Congress

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