Both Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan have decried defense cuts which were put in place by a Congressional supercommittee designed originally to handle the debt ceiling crisis. These cuts are scheduled to go into effect in January 2 with layoff notifications to go out 45 days ahead of time unless overturned by Congress.
The cuts, known as “sequestration,” are designed to cut $500 billion from the Department of Defense over the next ten years. The first casualties are likely to be jobs in the federal workforce, rather than defense contractors, research and development or weapons procurement, as those budget outlays have already been made. Romney and Ryan have suggested that, if elected, they’ll fast-track Republican legislation that shifts the burden of cuts to other programs. But the candidates have been silent on the fact that Ryan – along with 173 other Republicans - voted for the Budget Control Act that included the defense trigger cuts.
Rather, the campaign has focused on the inherent peril the nation faces in reducing defense programs, and the massive blow it will deal to the economy. How will the GOP address defense spending in their platform? If elected, will Romney be able to reverse the trajectory of sequestration that Congress voted into effect? What will he put on the chopping block instead?
Congressman Buck McKeon, (R), 25th District, Santa Clarita Valley, Antelope Valley, San Bernardino, Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee
Mattie Duppler, Director of Budget & Regulatory Policy, Americans for Tax Reform