Forbes and Wittman issue “red line” regarding sequestration and national defense

From a joint release by Reps. Forbes and Wittman:

Congressman J. Randy Forbes (VA-04), Chairman of the House Armed Services Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, and Congressman Rob Wittman (VA-01), Chairman of the House Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee submitted a letter today to the House Appropriations Committee urging the protection of specific military programs vital to National Security against the harmful impacts of a Continuing Resolution based on Fiscal Year 2012 appropriations.

“Mitigating the effects of a prolonged Continuing Resolution and further defense cuts, which threaten to eliminate thousands of jobs and seriously degrade our military strength for years to come, is our highest Congressional priority,” Congressman Forbes said. “These programs represent a ‘red line’ that America must not cross in terms of adequately meeting our national security needs.” The list of programs designated as essential for national security includes:

· Fully funding Navy modernization and maintenance programs to sustain existing fleet readiness levels

· Completing the refueling and overhaul of the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71)

· Providing for the refueling and overhaul of the USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72)

· Providing new authority to begin construction of USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79)

· Ensuring multiyear procurement and quantity increases for the Virginia class of nuclear attack submarines and the Arleigh Burke class of guided missile destroyers

· Completing delivery of the amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA-6)

· Allowing for the continued operation of the Moored Training Ship

· Providing for a quantity increase in the procurement of the P-8A Poseidon aircraft.

“These programs are absolutely essential for our national security in the 21st century,” Congressman Wittman said. “Navy maintenance and new ship construction rely on an industrial base that cannot be turned on and off like a spigot. They require a sustained investment that cannot be held hostage to partisan wrangling in Washington. While we must balance our budget and get our fiscal house in order, the result of an inability to adequately pursue these programs will be real and serious national security failures.”

If Congress fails to pass an FY13 appropriations bill and instead funds the government at the previous years’ level, the Defense Department will be forced to dramatically reduce its maintenance and construction activities for the year.

  • Mike Barrett

    Yes, of course, just about every one of our Virginia Representatives and Senators, and every citizen in their right mind that is paying attention to this matter knows that democrats and republicans in Congress need to get this matter resolved. But right now, the republicans are playing chicken; that is, they believe they have more leverable than us and the President, and so they will push all the way to sequester to project the rich and the wealthy from paying a bit more in taxes and revenue. Republicans care more about the 1% and the plutocrats than they do about working folks. They should realized that the rich got their wealth from the Bush tax taxes and they should be willing to share a smigen of it so our economy can continue to grow and improve, but it appears they prefer to protect their friends.

    • George from Cleveland

      This isn’t about the infamous eeevil rich. The middle class must face tax increases, Paul Krugman admitted it. The rich had their taxes hiked, but not to be outdone the left wants more money. Is Monseuir Hollande’s 75% enough?

      Kicking the can has gone on far too long. The rich already pay 40% of the taxes, you cannot get more blood out of a turnip. The middle class will either face tax increases or severe cuts in Medicare, along with defense and non-defense discretionary spending.

      • No amount of taxes can correct the problem, which is that we have a population of elitist parasites sucking all the wealth out of the nation, immune to law and consequences of their actions. I speak of course of the cretins on Wall St. and K Street, and the political weasels who do their bidding.

        • George from Cleveland

          This isn’t an all-elite problem. It starts with each and everyone of us.

          Credit-card debt, people willingly took it on
          Student loan debt, ditto
          Mortgages for the clearly unqualified, ditto

          Did .gov add some gas on the fire, yup, but who pulled the trigger?

          We need to ask what kind of services we want?

          Do we want Medicare, yes.

          That means removing the cap on payroll taxes, and raising the rate.

          Same with SS, Medicaid, Amtrak, NPR, Medicaid, PBS, DOE

          The populace does not want the austerity agenda, we can either decide to pay the taxes for the services, which is pushing us into single-payer, or start “slash and burn”

          “Slash and burn” was on the ballot in 1964, it lost, it showed up again in 2012, it lost. The problem is not fixable politically.

    • EricMcGrane

      How exactly are the republicans playing “chicken” with Obama’s own sequester plan?

  • If they can’t find anything in the budget more worthy of cutting than carrier maintenance, they’re obviously not bothering to look.

    • Mike Barrett

      Well, that is a big part of the problem; that is, sequester require across the board cuts with no ability to cut in a rational way. In public budgeting, that is called the meat ax approval; no thought, nor reason, cuts across the board cuts.

      • 95% of a carrier doesn’t float.

        This “make the pain where it’s most visible” is a tactic being used against us – it’s called Washington Monument Syndrome.

        Somewhere someone assigns what exactly those cuts affect, within each department or program. Someone CHOSE to say “if they are going to force cuts* on us, we’re going to make those cuts in the place most likely to get them to reverse their position”.

        * (DC speak for not raising budgets as much as desired by vested interests)

  • $15 billion down, $1.35 trillion to go…….

    Seriously, if Republicans can’t wrap their heads around $15 billion a year over the next 10 years, then we are indeed doomed.

    • What people really need to wrap our heads around is a foreign policy that doesn’t require us to outspend the rest of the world combined (including our alleged allies).

      A competent strategist could solidly defend the US on 1/6th the current budget – if you think that is not realistic, then how can every other country in the world manage to make do with less?

      • “how can every other country in the world manage to make do with less?”
        They have the United States willing to export military strength in exchange for free trade, access, among other things.

        • It is, of course, not “free” trade if it’s contingent on US protection. Seems that term is used for a lot of things that aren’t what a normal person would consider to be free trade at all.

          It’s high time those other countries started paying their share, because it’s a raw deal for the American people, and we simply can’t afford to continue like this.

          I wonder how many would continue with the present state of affairs if they had to spend their own money? Not many, I’d wager – and nor should we.

          • So, you like trade wars that lead to real wars, do you? Do you really think we, as human beings, are that far removed from when we were blowing the crap out of each other over borders, fuel supplies, resources, etc.?

          • What makes you think that we aren’t doing that now?

          • I’m not saying we aren’t. Which is why I’m not as naive as you. We’re just doing it on a much smaller scale than what your course of action will surely get us.

          • You certainly strongly implied that we aren’t. Nice face-heel turn there.

            There’s nothing naive about minding our own business and not getting involved in the internal affairs of other nations. What is naive is pretending that all our meddling is relatively bloodless (it isn’t), that it comes without severe consequences (it doesn’t), to pretend it’s defense (it isn’t) or that it makes us safer (it doesn’t).

            Also naive is to pretend that we can afford it (we can’t).

      • MD Russ

        Because every other country in the world, 1) doesn’t have the same financial levels that we have, and 2) doesn’t have the force projection goals that are driven by American exceptionalism. The equivalent of one US dollar buys a great deal more defense activity in the Third World than it does in the US. And on those occasions when we have turned our back on the world, e.g. after World War I, it turned out very badly for us and we spent far more on a war in both blood and treasure than we would have spent on preparedness and force projection instead of isolationism. BTW, the US also has flown more people in space than the rest of the world combined. Is that something that we also should abandon?

        • Where to begin… ok for starters, we’re FLAT BROKE. Actually, the situation isn’t even that good. We’re $100T+ in obligations in the hole in addition to the “on-the-books” debt. Our “financial levels” are negative, in a big way, and unrestrained spending without skepticism and without financial discipline is a big part of how we got here. We can never make good on all the promises made so it’s time to start deciding what we need and can afford.

          Second point – Much of WW2 was a direct consequence of Wilson’s ill-advised decision to get us involved in WW1 and thereafter to impose the arrangement (Treaty of Versailles) that led Germany to prefer another war just two decades later. That’s a failure of interventionism, not a failure of minding our own business.

          WW2-style wars are literally history in a multilateral nuclear age, anyway. The new paradigm is widespread but low-level insurgency, something which forward projection and foreign involvement makes worse by providing fuel to the fire. This is classic “fighting the last war” planning failure, very akin historically to the Maginot Line.

          Last point – the US hasn’t flown anyone into space in decades, unless you count that flying joke known as the International Space Station, a white elephant waste of money. It’s been over 40 years since our last moon landing! More than half the population has never seen it except in history books. Next time a man lands on the Moon, it is likely as not to be privately funded and operated.

          • EricMcGrane

            Exactly. All this talk of protecting this or protecting that is comical.

            There *is no* money. Its worse than that. There’s less than no money.

    • Indeed. But I fear Congress will find some way to just kick this can down the road. Eventually, however, that can WILL roll off a cliff.

      • And at that point, Mr. Can morphs in Mr. Bill. “OH NO!!!”

    • It’s not about the amount of the cuts, it’s where the cuts come from.

  • Yep. Everyone hates pork barrel spending except in their own pig pen. Sorry, but I am all for the sequestration. These scare tactics don’t scare me. If push comes to shove, DoD will find places to actually move some numbers around.

  • Darrell

    The Too Big To Jail crooks on Wall street are routing their billion dollar bonus checks through Bermuda laundromats so they don’t have to pay a cent in taxes. Meanwhile these two representatives are more concerned about saving Newport News Shipbuilding profits. You want to draw a line in the sand? Land the Marines into Battery Park.

    • Darrell, do you really want our largest employer and industry in the region to fail? Talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face…..not to mention the damage it’s going to cause our national security. I agree that we need to seek cost savings and spending cuts across the board, but let’s do so in a rational and well-debated manner. Not haphazardly, as this sequester seems to be directed.

      • Sound like a stuck pig to me, J.R. Sorry, this chicken-little game is not playing with the base. Go ahead and cut. These cuts are not “across the board” by every little agency, they are by department. Surely Dod can find a few pennies laying around to take a haircut. I am not crying a river a tears here.

        • Craig for Congress! When do you run, Craig! You are so right Let’s eliminate Newport News and its 20k jobs! What a great platform!

          • You really need to read some Bastiat.

            The indirect effects of failing to prosecute crimes on Wall St. have cost the state of Virginia far more than 20k jobs, they’ve wrecked the whole economy.

            Being in favor of building ships we really don’t need to build, just because of vested financial interests, is called corruption, and it’s something any decent person should abhor. At the very minimum you can acknowledge it’s corrupt and work to change the situation so you don’t have to go all-in on morally dubious propositions.

            At what point do you stop? Should we start another war to add more shipbuilding jobs? Have we already done so? When in doubt, try this rule: when the market is left to sort out who gets jobs where doing what, it creates prosperity for everyone.

            Darrell is 100% correct when he points to the crooks on Wall St. as the source of many of our region’s – and the world’s – economic ills. Those guys have been strip mining the wealth of entire nations, including our own, to amass vast personal fortunes and influence, while producing nothing at all of value.

          • You’re right, Alexis. I’m sorry I’m such an ignorant rube. In the meantime, I look forward to reading your website. What’s it called so that I can read your posts and become enlightened?

          • No need, J.R. I bring the education right to your doorstep.

            If you want an educational website for people who live in the real world and don’t want to adopt Darth Vader’s approach to governance, you could do worse than to stroll on over to – although you do need some education in the financial markets to get the most out of it.

          • Who said DoD was going to obliviate Newport News? You all were all cheering for sequester. Now you got it, and you want more pork? Whos the RINO here?

          • OINK!

          • And by this logic, everyone is a government employed bureaucrat. Brilliant logic, J. R. Let just raise the tax rate to 100% and you all run the pig pen. Count me out on that idea. And who is the RINO here, or should I say, who is the pig at Animal Farm?

      • Darrell

        Which is worse? Cutting DoD or allowing these crooks to get away Scott Free? Now we get to do both. We wouldn’t even be in sequestration if we had put a few Paulson’s or Cohen’s in jail for life. Now we are mothballing ships and troops while AQ is moving into Nigeria and other oil rich areas we won’t be able to defend because we will be too busy protecting our money in a global currency war. It’s a matter of priority and these two politicians are not seeing the big picture.

  • Mike Barrett

    As the pressure gets increased, it will be republicans that come out of this looking foolish and childish. They are the one refusing to compromise, when just about every rational person in this nation knows that is required. The simple fact is when Bush gave the plutocrats free reign to make billions, it created millions of americans who resent him and republicans for doing so, and who want equity bact in our system. There is no way the system is yet rebalanced, and that is why more revenue in the form of taxes and tax reform is required to get a handled on the deficit and reverse the imbalance between revenue and expenses.
    Could republicans actually particiate in this national effort to put us back on a strong course? Of course they could, except today’s republican party is deviod of character, integity, and common sense. Get rational republicans back in the party and things will impove rapidly.

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