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Replacing the Defense Sequester


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The administration has repeatedly said the fast-approaching "sequester," or automatic budget cuts, would seriously weaken our armed forces and threaten our national security. To avoid these dangerous defense cuts, the House of Representatives passed the Sequester Replacement Reconciliation Act of 2012 in May that would reprioritize the $98 billion cut in 2013 defense funding scheduled to take effect this January. This act would replace the sequester with common-sense savings and reforms, cut other mandatory non-defense programs, and reduce the deficit another $243 billion beyond the original cuts from the Budget Control Act by eliminating bailouts, slush funds, and stopping fraud in taxpayer-funded programs. It is now time for the Senate Democrats and the administration to follow suit.

Last week, I voted in favor of H.R. 6365, the National Security and Job Protection Act that extended President Obama's deadline to present his plan on how to implement or replace the sequester, because he has failed to put forth a credible plan. In fact, the president violated the law he signed in August, the Sequestration Transparency Act of 2012. This law required President Obama to submit a detailed report by September 7, 2012, that explained to the American people what his proposed cuts were and who would be affected by the sequester, but the White House ignored the deadline. On September 14, the administration released a 394-page report outlining the details of the sequester, however this report "simply lists the dollar amount of the cuts but fails to address their real-world impact."

Unfortunately, the Senate has not passed a bill either; they have not even proposed a plan. The House continues to work on this issue, but this is a bicameral legislature, and things cannot get done without both the House and the Senate.

House Republicans have acted responsibly to remain true to the Budget Control Act, and avoid the fiscal cliff that would thrust the economy back into a recession. President Obama and Senate Democrats have not taken a single action to resolve this potentially disastrous situation. This lack of leadership is hurting the economy and the country.

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