With devastating across-the-board military cuts slated to begin on March 1, U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) today reintroduced legislation that would replace these looming reductions with savings from other areas of the federal budget - without raising taxes.
The Down Payment to Protect National Security Act of 2013 would pay for one year of defense and non-defense sequestration by requiring a reduction in the federal workforce through attrition and a pay freeze for Members of Congress. The House version of her bill is set to be introduced by Armed Services Committee Chairman Howard "Buck" McKeon (R-CA). Senator Ayotte introduced similar legislation last year.
"We're already feeling the effects of sequestration in New Hampshire, where the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard and our defense suppliers are bracing for these cuts," said Senator Ayotte. "We can prevent the first year of sequestration without raising taxes. The legislation I'm introducing today does just that by replacing these reductions with common sense savings found elsewhere in the federal budget."
Senator Ayotte was scheduled to announce the introduction of the legislation at a Capitol Hill press conference today with top members of the Senate and House Armed Services Committees, including Chairman McKeon (R-CA), Senate Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Senator John McCain (R-AZ), Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Congressman Mac Thornberry (R-TX), and Congressman Mike Turner (R-OH).
* Senator Ayotte's Down Payment to Protect National Security Act of 2013 would pay for the first year of sequestration by achieving approximately $85 billion in savings - sufficient to pay for both defense and non-defense accounts.
* The legislation would make this down payment by requiring a government-wide reduction in the number of federal employees by 10 percent through attrition. This would allow federal agencies to hire 1 person for every 3 who leave their employment through attrition. In addition, the legislation would freeze pay for Members of Congress for any year in which there is a federal budget deficit.
o This hiring limitation would occur at the agency level and is not an across the board reduction within agencies, giving the Department of Defense the freedom to best protect our military readiness and high demand workers like those at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.
o This hiring limitation may be waived for a national security concern or extraordinary emergency.
* Even though defense represents approximately 18 percent of the budget, nearly half of the deficit reduction measures called for under the 2011 Budget Control Act, which created the sequester, taken to date have come out of the military - to the tune of half a trillion dollars.