Before we talk about some serious matters, let's talk about some joyous ones: Wichita State's Men's Basketball Team is on its way to Los Angeles having beaten the No. 1 team in the country on Saturday! WSU's Women's Basketball team made the Big Dance for the first time ever. And Newman University's Mens hoops team also made its championship tournament. Proving that hard work and dedication still matter, our teams in KS-4 are excelling and showing the country how to play the game. Congratulations to all the players and coaches who worked so hard to make it happen.
The So-Called Sequester
Let's start with a few simple facts:
The "sequester" is nothing more than the first installment of very modest federal discretionary spending reductions--the first in decades;
Even after the sequester your federal government will spend more in 2013 than it did in 2012;
Almost every agency--including the Federal Aviation Administration--will have more money even after the "sequester" than it did just two or three years ago;
Save for the Department of Defense, no agency or program will have to reduce spending by more than 4% from 2012 spending levels.
So, why the rhetoric of "impending disaster"?
It's because the worst thing that can happen to a believer in ever bigger government is to have the American people learn that a spending reduction could be painless. They fear that people will realize that much of what is taxed and spent is wasted. That fear drives the administration's decisions. A few examples:
The administration has threatened to close "contract" (meaning non-union!) air traffic control towers. But here's a question that must be asked: All the towers were open in 2009 and 2010. The FAA has more money after sequester in 2013 than either of those years. So why is it necessary to inflict pain on travelers and families in Kansas?
I called the reduced spending a "home run." I think that families should keep their money instead of sending it to Washington, D.C. For that, Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said I was not on "Team America" and President Obama's spokesman, Jay Carney, attacked me by name.
Closing the White House to the public and cancelling Air Shows, national parks and other American resources that ordinary Americans deserve to enjoy. Again, each of the involved agencies could make a few simple changes and not cause these high-profile, petty disruptions.
The Air Force and Beechcraft
Every business, every family, every church, every non-profit organization has, at some point, faced a 4% reduction in revenue or resources. In Kansas, we celebrate the old American tradition of saying "can do!" Our federal government can and must do the same.
Few places love the Air Force more than Wichita, Kansas, which has been home to McConnell Air Force Base and its beloved airmen since 1929, when the ground first broke for the Wichita Municipal Airport.
Before it became the Air Museum, the Wichita Municipal Airport
hosted a variety of National Guard aircraft
The Air Force also must think highly of Wichita--when Beechcraft put in its bid to receive the Light Air Support contract, the Air Force said that Beechcraft had the superior plane and could make it cheaper than any other competitor. That's why it was so confusing to hear that the Air Force decided to go with another contractor based in another country.
Senators Roberts and Moran and I wrote a letter asking for further clarification because we believe in the importance of getting this contract right. Beechcraft protested the award and the Government Accountability Office ordered that all work on the contract stop so that they could investigate. Despite this, the Air Force announced that it would override the stop-work order.
It's important that we fulfill the needs of this contract quickly, but it's also important to consider cost and quality. Given what the Air Force has told us, it's not clear that they made the right call.
I'm hopeful that we can find a resolution to this soon. In the meantime, please feel free to contact me at my office, "like" my Facebook page (www.facebook.com/congressmanpompeo), or check out my website (Pompeo.house.gov). If there's anything we can do to help you, please let us know.
Member of Congress