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Veterans Jobs Corps Act of 2012--Motion to Proceed--Continued

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. McCONNELL. Madam President, yesterday I came to the floor to draw attention to the administration's transparent attempts to conceal the impact of defense cuts President Obama demanded as part of last year's debt-ceiling deal. I was referring, of course, to the administration's Monday notification to businesses that work with the government that they are under no obligation to warn employees who might lose their jobs as a result of these cuts. Incredibly, the administration's argument was that they don't expect the cuts to happen even though the President had not done a thing to prevent them and even though Congress had to pass a law requiring the administration to tell us what the cuts would look like.

So let's be clear. The administration officials who sent out this notification instructing businesses to keep quiet about these cuts know just as well as I do that the cuts are coming unless Senate Democrats act or the President of the United States finally decides to come up with a credible plan to replace them.

The only reason the administration sent out this guidance to employers earlier this week was to keep people in the dark about the impact these defense cuts will have until, of course, after the election. So the White House is clearly trying to hide the ball from all of us. The clearest proof of that is the fact that no one even denied it after I noted it here just yesterday. But if we did need further proof, we actually got it yesterday when the Obama administration's Office of Management and Budget issued guidance of its own to departments and agencies telling folks they should prepare for the cuts.

So let's get this straight. Government workers should prepare for cuts, but private businesses and their employers should not. Not a week seems to pass that we don't see more evidence of the President's absolute contempt for the private sector, and here is the latest. The Federal Government is told to prepare for cuts, and yet the private sector businesses are specifically told it would be ``inappropriate'' to tell people they could lose their jobs. The cuts to the Defense Department under sequester are the law of the land, and until Congress changes that fact they are totally foreseeable.

Yesterday the Director of OMB exempted appropriations for military personnel from the sequester, providing even more certainty that the cuts to defense will fall upon training, maintenance, and weapons procurement and development. So the fact is that private businesses have a higher degree of certainty that their workforces will be hit. Yet here is the administration's message: If you are in the public sector, prepare for cuts. If you are in the private sector, don't even warn your employees that their jobs actually may be on the line.

What a perfect summary of this administration's approach to the economy and jobs over the past 3 1/2 years. Private businesses didn't earn their success; somebody else made that happen. Now the President says: If you work hard in the private sector, you don't even deserve to know if your job is on the chopping block. The private sector is doing just fine; it is the government that needs help. That is the message of this administration.

Just as disturbing is what this says about the administration's approach to our national defense. The President's own Defense Secretary has said these cuts would hollow out our Armed Forces. Yet the President has not said a word about how he plans to responsibly replace them or, if he accepts a weakened national defense, how he will carry them out. Congress had to actually pass a law forcing him to make these plans clear to everybody. Now, he hasn't signed the bill yet. It went to him by voice vote out of the Senate last week. The defense cuts that will be triggered under the sequester are in addition to the $487 billion in cuts to the Department identified by Secretary Gates.

It is time for the President to provide the leadership to avoid these reductions that will render his own strategy unsustainable. A lot of people are wondering how they will be affected by these cuts. The fact that many of them will be voting in swing States in November is no reason to leave them wondering about their fate any longer.

I yield the floor.


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