Senate Must Pass Sequestration Transparency

July 24, 2012

Our country is headed for a fiscal cliff. We're also headed for a national security crisis thanks to one large component of this fiscal cliff — the $1.2 trillion automatic budget sequestration due to go into effect Jan. 2, which would disproportionately cut funding for our defense needs.

The sequestration process was passed last August as part of the Budget Control Act, a last-resort measure to avert a fiscal crisis due in part to the Senate's failure to pass a budget. Though defense spending makes up less than 20 percent of our budget, 50 percent of the cuts required under the act fall on programs and personnel charged with providing for our nation's defense.

Even worse, these enormous defense cuts would come on top of a $487-billion cut in defense spending put in place last year. Defense will be cut by nearly a trillion dollars over the next 10 years.

The Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has stated that the sequestration cuts "would do catastrophic damage to our military and its ability to protect the country." The assistant commandant of the Marine Corps has testified that this would leave the corps without "adequate capabilities and capacities to meet a single major contingency operation," while the chief of naval operations has testified that it would cause "irreversible damage."

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