President Needs to Show Leadership, Avoid Crippling Defense Cuts

Press Release

By:  Mitch McConnell
Date: Sept. 14, 2012
Location: Louisville, KY

U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell issued the following statement today in response to the administration's report detailing its plan for implementing the required sequestration cuts for defense and non-defense programs that are scheduled to occur on January 2, 2013:

"The release today of a report detailing across-the-board budget cuts--including the cuts to national security that the President demanded during last year's budget negotiations--highlights the crippling effect these reductions will have on our nation's security and underscores the urgent need for the President to work with congressional Republicans to replace these destructive cuts. Although the sequestration report lacks detail, it makes glaringly clear that those programs most closely related to combat readiness of the force will be severely cut. And while the report claims that the President has offered "balanced and comprehensive deficit reduction' solutions, his plan was so unserious that it was rejected by every single member of Congress.

"Sadly, it took passage of the Sequester Transparency Act to force the Obama administration to tell the American people what programs will be affected by these cuts. The President's own defense secretary has said these cuts would hollow out our Armed Forces, yet the President refuses to join Republicans who want to responsibly replace them before they go into effect. The defense cuts that will be triggered under the sequester are in addition to the $487 billion in cuts to the Defense Department identified by Secretary Gates. The President needs to provide the leadership to avoid these reductions that will render his own strategy unsustainable."

Background: Modeled after a Thune-Sessions bill, the Sequester Transparency Act required the President's Office of Management and Budget to submit a report to Congress on the impact of sequestration on both defense and non-defense programs. The House passed it last month with a vote of 414-2 and the Senate passed the bill by unanimous consent. The following is an excerpt from Sen. McConnell's speech in July:

"The President owes it to our forces around the world and to their families to put a plan on the table for all to see now, rather than waiting until after the November elections pass. To keep these details secret and to leave the defense sequester in place as written would be irresponsible, regardless of the outcome of the Presidential election."

"We need President Obama to tell this Congress his plan for avoiding this sequester, for preventing the gutting of his strategy, for responsibly transitioning to a new Commander in Chief, and for keeping faith with the warriors we have sent into combat. And in all this, our overriding objective, our duty, should be to work with the president to achieve the level of savings called for in the Budget Control Act without doing harm to our national security or military."

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