A picture of Representative C. W. Bill Young
C. Y.
Former Republican FL 13
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    American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012

    by Former Representative C. W. Bill Young

    Posted on 2013-01-01

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    YOUNG of Florida. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to discuss the devastating across-the-board sequestration cuts set to take place across the entire federal government tomorrow--January 2nd. Half of those cuts would come from the Department of Defense and our national security programs.

    The Department of Defense, industry, and the Congressional Defense Committees, have repeatedly and consistently warned of the consequences of letting sequestration take place. If allowed to happen, the impact to the Department of Defense would be a reduction of 8.2 [[Page H7557]] percent or $54.6 billion from the fiscal year 2013 budget. The total sequestration reduction for Defense through fiscal year 2021 amounts to roughly $492 billion--almost half a trillion dollars.

    With military pay and personnel costs exempt from the cuts, the actual cut to all other accounts increases to 9.4 percent. Even though the Department of Defense has some limited flexibility to allocate sequestration cuts in the operating accounts, a computer will cut all procurement and research accounts proportionally--which will directly impact more than 2,500 programs and projects. The impact on our national security and readiness will be severe.

    Base operating budgets will be cut, negatively impacting readiness. Training could be significantly reduced, resulting in unprepared troops and higher risk to those who deploy. Civilian personnel will certainly be affected, possibly resulting in hiring freezes and unpaid furloughs. Fewer weapon systems will be bought, which starts a vicious circle of rises in unit prices for the remaining weapons. Other major weapon systems will be reduced or terminated, and current contracts may have to be terminated or renegotiated, resulting in additional costs to the government and a loss of favorable contract terms in some cases. Procurement and Depot Maintenance schedules will be severely impacted, which is enormously disruptive, especially in shipbuilding and maintenance when future deployments rely on maintaining schedules.

    Earlier this year, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta testified that the impact of sequestration on the Department of Defense alone would drive up our nation's unemployment rate by a full percent. Jobs will be lost but more importantly, infrastructure and manufacturing capabilities critical to our national security will be lost. Already prime contractors have notified their suppliers and subcontractors that programs are on hold. This has left thousands of small businesses with no choice but to close their doors and lay off workers as work orders have dried up.

    Our nation's manufacturing base relies upon these workers and their special skills. We rely on these small businesses to supply critical components for important weapons systems and platforms.

    Mr. Speaker, as you know, the impact of sequestration is very real and is very imminent. Just consider that if sequestration remains in place for its full nine years, our nation will be left with the smallest ground force since 1940, the smallest number of ships since 1915, and the smallest Air Force in history.

    When we talk about the fiscal cliff, these across the board cuts to our defense budget will result in not only an economic fiscal cliff, but of greatest concern to me, a cliff off which our national security will fall. This will impact our readiness, our ability to defend our nation, and our ability to ensure the safety of our all volunteer force as they operate around the world.

    I urge my colleagues in the House to do everything we can to ensure that sequestration does not become a stark reality tomorrow. Failing to take action will cause irreversible harm to our nation's security and violate our Constitutional responsibility to ``provide for the common defense.''

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