At the end of each May, Americans come together to remember our deceased war heroes on Memorial Day. Every day our men and women in uniform are on the frontlines protecting our freedom and our way of life. Our military is the best in the world because of the American soldier. Unfortunately, Washington is playing a dangerous shell game that threatens the readiness and stability of America’s military for years to come.
During last year’s debt limit debate, President Obama would not budge on his plan to raise taxes on American families and businesses, and he refused to enact the necessary spending reductions to make America solvent. The two sides were log jammed until they agreed to save nearly $1 trillion immediately, with another $1.2 trillion in additional spending cuts at a later date. The fight spawned the much maligned debt “super committee” which was bound to fail from the get-go because Democrats were never going to waiver on their failed liberal policies in the face of our unsustainable national debt.
When the shamefully but not surprisingly, super committee did indeed fail, the clock started to tick on massive cuts to our military. Congress, in its infinite wisdom, is using our men and women in uniform as bargaining chips. To meet the $1.2 trillion in cuts, defense and domestic programs will have to be cut evenly over the next decade. The cuts, also known in Washington parlance as a “sequester,” are set to take effect on January 2, 2013, cutting a total of $109 billion from both domestic and defense spending in the first year.
If the defense cuts are fully realized, then $500 billion would be cut over the next decade – and that is on top of the $487 billion in cuts already planned. These massive cuts would cripple our nation’s military at a time when we are seeing the rise of China and are still engaged in the War on Terrorism. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said at a Congressional hearing last fall, “We would have the smallest ground force since 1940, the smallest number of ships since 1915, and the smallest Air Force in its history,” if the cuts were fully implemented. In essence, America would not be a military power anymore and one can only imagine what would happen on the world stage. Why is our national security being compromised when everyone knows entitlement reform is the real solution?
Thankfully, the Republican-led House of Representatives passed legislation that would help alleviate the cuts to our military. The Sequester Replacement Reconciliation Act of 2012, sponsored by Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI), would right the wrong of these brutal cuts to the military. The legislation would cut the implementation of Obamacare as well as slow the growth of Medicaid, and revamp the food-stamp program. Naturally, like with other pieces of legislation that actually reform the nanny state, this one has no chance in the Democrat-led U.S. Senate. Harry Reid and his colleagues on the Left would rather hold our men and women in uniform hostage than cut their precious spending programs.
Besides the material implications of these cuts, soldiers and their families will be negatively impacted as well. Assistant Marine Commandant General Jon Dunford said last week during a Congressional hearing that the military might have to “break faith” with those serving in Afghanistan when it comes to education, job, and health benefits. Defaulting on a promise made by the government to our troops in the field is demoralizing. Our government must do better, and actions like these will cripple our all-volunteer military.
President Obama should not be playing class warfare with our nation’s military, and these cuts must not take effect next January or our national security will be in jeopardy. Congress got itself into the mess and now they must get us out. I have faith in the House of Representatives, but the Senate will use our men and women in uniform as pawns in President Obama’s class warfare game. How sad, especially during a month when we honor the soldiers who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.