The automatic spending cuts known as sequestration are just days away from being implemented, and the country received some sad news this week from the Department of Defense. It informed Congress of its intent to impose furloughs on the Defense Department’s entire civilian workforce as it copes with the drastic cuts that are set to take effect March 1.
Our military has already absorbed huge cuts, and the warning has been sounded about the impact of further reductions to our national defense. Even Defense Secretary Leon Panetta warned of our military being “hollowed” out by any additional cuts. We are now likely to see one of the first major impacts of these across-the-board reductions if sequestration takes place. Sequestration is a result of the 2011 Super Committee’s failure to reach an agreement on how to cut America’s huge national debt. I voted against the Budget Control Act which created this dangerous plan.
The House has voted twice to replace sequestration with common-sense cuts and reforms. In fact, the House Armed Services Committee has put forward another responsible alternative to sequestration. It calls for a 10 percent reduction in the federal work force over the next decade, with the cuts coming from attrition.
Civilian cuts are only the beginning of the sequestration dangers. Our men and women in uniform who have dedicated their lives to protecting this country will have to bear the brunt of some of these cuts. As a member of the House Armed Services and Budget Committees, I will continue to embrace spending reduction plans that reduce our debt without raising taxes on hardworking Americans or putting our national defense at risk.
I had the opportunity to meet with my Agriculture Advisory Council to discuss and share a number of important issues, including an update on the Farm Bill. The House Agriculture Committee, on which I serve, hopes to have a Farm Bill out of committee by May or June, with the full House voting on it sometime in July. I will be working hard to make sure the Farm Bill maintains strong crop insurance programs that work for producers, while repealing or consolidating programs and beginning the process of making much-needed reforms to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to save taxpayers more than $16 billion. I welcome your input on this important bill to rural America and to food security as a nation.
Have a good week.