Congress returns to work next week, trying to find an alternative to mandatory budget cuts called “sequestration.” That's the penalty Congressional negotiators came up with if Democrats and Republicans can’t find a way to trim the federal deficit by $1.2 trillion over a decade. Half those cuts will come from the defense department.
Buck McKeon (R-Santa Clarita) chairs the House Armed Services Committee. He says cutting the military that much would be “terrible.” He blames President Obama for a lack of leadership. As Commander in Chief, McKeon says "he’s the one that should care the most about the troops and he’s using them as pawns." McKeon says he hasn't heard the President talk about defense until the past week, "and they’re the ones that are impacted the most by this.”
McKeon says Congress could buy time by passing his bill – which would use attrition to cut the federal workforce by 10 percent. He says the savings would only cover the first year of scheduled defense cuts, but that would give Congress several months to find a more permanent solution.