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Sequestration and national security: What you need to know


Sequestration and national security: What you need to know

Mitt Romney and Republicans are attempting to mislead Americans by attacking President Obama for ensuring “massive defense cuts.” They’re basing this false attack on a “sequestration” passed by Congress last August—a policy that is supposed to force Congress to reach a deal to reduce the deficit. Here is what you need to know about the sequester and where each candidate stands on preventing the cuts:

What is sequestration?

If Congress cannot reach a deal to reduce the deficit by the end of the year, a “sequester” will trigger $1.2 trillion in automatic spending cuts evenly split between defense and non-defense spending. Democrats and Republicans in Congress created this mechanism in order to pressure its members to reach a compromise on deficit-reduction. The potential defense cuts, which passed Congress with a majority of Republican support in both the House and the Senate, will only go into effect if Congress cannot agree on a deficit deal.

Why is this plan in place?

After House Republicans refused to support President Obama’s deficit-reduction proposal—a compromise that could have cut the deficit by $4 trillion over ten years—Congress had to find a way to address our country’s rising levels of debt from two wars, the Bush tax cuts, and the effects of the worst recession since the Great Depression. To reach a long-term deal, Democrats and Republicans in Congress reached an agreement with President Obama: $1 trillion in spending cuts and a pledge to reduce the deficit by an additional $1 trillion. Congress established the threat of sequestration as an enforcement mechanism: the automatic and indiscriminate spending cuts were designed to be so damaging that Congress would have no choice but to reach a deficit-reduction deal in order to prevent their implementation.

What are the consequences of the sequester for national security?

Congressional Republicans are risking serious consequences in order to launch a political attack. President Obama understands that the effects of such massive spending cuts would undermine our national security. The reductions would indiscriminately slash the Pentagon’s funding by nearly 20% over the next decade, threatening to undermine America’s military. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta noted that sequestration would drastically shrink the military and diminish its ability to keep us safe.

What is President Obama’s plan to avoid these cuts?

President Obama made it very clear that Congress “can and must act to avoid the sweeping impacts of the sequester” and provided several blueprints for balanced deficit reduction to avoid these cuts. His deficit reduction package, for example, offered more than $4 trillion in deficit reduction while making sure we continue to invest in education, job creation, and long-term economic growth. The package “would achieve more than enough deficit reduction to avoid the sequester,” and would provide our military the support they need to keep America safe. Fiscal commission co-chairs Erksine Bowles and Alan Simpson both called the President’s plan “a balanced, comprehensive approach to deficit reduction.” But Republican leaders “walked away from negotiations” because they refused to accept any revenue increases.

Does Mitt Romney have a plan that would prevent these cuts?

No. Romney has refused to support any proposal that would include additional government revenue, saying “I don’t believe that raising revenues is the right answer to balancing our budget.” He even backed Congressional Republicans who refused to raise revenue as part of a deal to avoid government default. Romney said that he didn’t want Congress to take any actions that might prevent these cuts before inauguration day in January 2013, even though the country faces looming defense cuts.

Why hasn’t Congress voted to pass a solution yet?

Republicans in Congress have apparently decided to stall legislation and “put off striking deals on major legislative issues” like deficit reduction in hopes that Romney wins the White House. Republican leader Rep. Jim Jordan even said that some Republicans were willing to see major fiscal decisions postponed until next year, because they are bullish about Mr. Romney winning.

In fact, with buy-in from the Romney campaign, Congressional Republicans have laid out month-long plans “in painstaking detail” that attack the President on defense cuts rather than attempting to find a solution. As Politico notes, “the main goal” of these attacks is “to boost the party’s prospects on Election Day.”

Entry #259


Comment by scorpio - August 4, 2012, 10:56 am
sounds good to me.I bet the republicants are squirming trying to get some way around the military cutbacks as they are going to hurt the wealthy businesses, owners who live off the government contracts.they'll just have to go back to clintons'budget before bush raised budgets for the wars he started.

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