U.S. Rep. Pete
Visclosky, D-1st, warned the House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday of
the risks posed to the country’s Armed Forces by the looming sequester.
Visclosky is the
Ranking Member of the House Appropriations Committee on Defense.
The text of his
“The matter before
the Congress and this Committee is of enormous consequence. The prospect of
sequestration, coupled with a possible year-long continuing resolution, and
shortfalls in contingency funding place our military capability at great
risk. In this regard, public discussion has focused on the $46 billion
sequester, but the Committee understands a year-long Continuing Resolution
presents a serious risk and may leave O&M with a shortfall of over $14
“We are aware of
the alarm sounded in your January 2013 letter to the congressional defense
committees. We understand that the readiness problem facing our military
today may be the most serious since the Task Force Smith catastrophe at the
beginning of the Korean War.
confluence of events creates tremendous economic uncertainty. The Bureau of
Economic Analysis indicates that the slowing economic output in the fourth
quarter of 2012 may already reflect reduced federal spending.
“There is also a
human cost to this situation. We understand the Department of Defense may
have to furlough 768,000 civilian personnel. This may result in a 20-percent
pay cut for DoD civilians--all of whom make vital contributions to our
military capabilities; 86 percent of whom are stationed outside of the DC
metro area; and 44 percent of whom are veterans. Sequestration will also
hurt military families. The Defense Health Program will have to absorb $3
billion due to sequestration over the balance of this year, and DOD does not
have plans in place to ensure continuous access to medical care for military
personnel, their dependents and eligible retirees.”