Today Congressman Rigell voted for and the House passed H.R. 6365, the National Security and Job Protection Act, which moves to stop the massive defense cuts known as sequestration. This most recent legislation is the latest effort by House Republicans to address head on the threat posed by the across-the-board budget cuts that will come in January and is based on Congressman Rigell's legislative amendment, which passed the House this summer, to avert sequestration for one year.
"Our national security, our men and women in uniform, and our local economy are at tremendous risk because of these looming cuts," said Rigell, who serves on the House Armed Services Committee. "I am proud of the House of Representatives for leading the efforts to get these cuts off the table and restore certainty in our defense community. But the House cannot fix this by itself. We need the leadership of our Commander in Chief and the partnership of the Senate to come together and do what is right for this country."
Specifically this legislation would 1) repeal the sequester if a bill is enacted that offsets the cuts and 2) require the President to put forth a plan to replace the sequester with other savings by October 15 of this year. Sequestration poses serious risk to national security, the military, and the Hampton Roads defense industry. Military leaders have said that sequestration would cause "irreversible damage" and "unacceptable risk." Virginia alone stands to lose more than 200,000 defense and non-defense jobs, according to a study by George Mason University.
Other House-led efforts to stop sequestration include:
* Passage of Rigell's amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act to stop sequestration for the coming fiscal year if Congress passes a reconciliation bill or other legislation that offsets the cuts over five years.
* Passage and enactment of the Sequestration Transparency Act, which gave the President 30 days to submit to Congress a detailed plan of how the looming automatic defense cuts would affect our national security, our men and women in uniform, and our local economy. That deadline was last Thursday, and there is still no plan from the White House, despite warnings from his own cabinet and our military leaders that allowing these cuts would cause "irreversible damage" and "unacceptable risk."
* Passage of the Sequester Replacement Reconciliation Act of 2012, which replaces the "sequester" of discretionary spending and finds other savings through reforms proposed by six House committees.
* A commitment to come into session during August recess if the Senate passed legislation to avoid the cuts, which it did not.