Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler (MO-4), championing the cause of national defense and desiring to gain knowledge from the people most impacted by sequestration, hosted a Defending Our Defenders Listening Session at the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg. Hartzler was joined by Congressman Joe Wilson (SC-2) and Congressional aides who listened to ideas from concerned citizens, military veterans, small business owners, local associations, and other interested parties about the impact of potential defense cuts.
"The first responsibility of the United States government is to provide for the common defense," said Hartzler. "But significant and dangerous across the board cuts to defense are scheduled to take place in January as part of the sequestration process resulting from the failure the Super Committee to reach agreement on how to reduce the debt. The U.S. House has passed common sense legislation designed to replace defense cuts with responsible reforms that include controlling runaway spending, reducing waste, and ending duplicative programs. But failure of the Senate and the Obama Administration to follow suit has led to the real possibility of draconian defense cuts and put our country at risk."
"This concern about our national defense is not -- nor should it be -- a partisan issue," continued Hartzler. "President Obama's Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has determined that sequestration will further weaken America's national defense by bringing about the smallest ground force since World War II, the smallest Navy since World War I, the smallest tactical fighter force in the history of the Air Force, and the smallest civilian workforce in the history of the Defense Department. He has said the sequester cuts would "hollow out the force and inflict severe damage to our national defense.'"
"The Defending Our Defenders Listening Session provided us with a valuable opportunity to raise awareness of this impending crisis and garner timely input from citizens most impacted by these cuts, who shared concerns about the defense cuts," added Hartzler. "It allowed my Congressional colleagues and me to collect valuable information from Missourians who want to ensure that providing for the common defense remains a national priority. We can now take this critical information back to Washington and continue to fight to stop these cuts."
Congresswoman Hartzler, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, represents Missouri's Fourth Congressional District -- home to Whiteman Air Force Base and Fort Leonard Wood.