House Says President Must List Specifics of Defense Cuts
Bipartisan Sequestration Transparency Act Passes House; Heads to Senate
Jul 18, 2012 -
Washington – Today Congressman Scott Rigell (VA-2) voted for and the House passed (by a vote of 414-2) H.R. 5872, the Sequestration Transparency Act, which requires the President to submit to Congress a detailed plan of how the defense cuts will affect the military and national security.
“Our national security, our men and women in uniform, and our local economy face unacceptable risk because of these potential defense cuts,” said Rigell, who has been outspoken on the need to stop the defense cuts and whose district is home to more men and women in uniform than any other district in the country. “But the President – our Commander-in-Chief – has been silent on the issue. That is a complete lack of leadership. Congress should be in session unless and until these cuts are addressed. Leadership is about looking ahead and being proactive; there’s enough time for us to come together and do what’s right.”
Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has said that enacting these massive defense cuts would be like “shooting ourselves in the head,” and that “the impacts of these cuts would be devastating for the Department.” Panetta continued: “Facing such large reductions, we would have to reduce the size of the military sharply. Rough estimates suggest after ten years of these cuts, we would have the smallest ground force since 1940, the smallest number of ships since 1915, and the smallest Air Force in its history.”
Despite the gravity of the situation, the Administration has refused to provide basic details about the scope, severity, and extent of the arbitrary, across-the-board cuts. As the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office has stated, “the Administration's Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has sole authority to determine whether a sequestration is required and, if so, the proportional allocations of any necessary cuts.”
Thus, only the President knows what kind of impact the cuts would have on individual agencies. H.R. 5872 would require the President to submit a report to Congress within 30 days of enactment that includes an estimate of the sequestration percentages and amounts necessary to achieve the required reduction for each spending category.