Dangerous military cuts must be avoided
Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 14, 2015
By MARTHA ROBY
Did you know that continued cuts to our nation’s military could, within just a few years, reduce our Army force down to where it was before September 11, 2001?
One of the main reasons I voted against the “Budget Control Act of 2011” was that it threatened dangerous, disproportionate reductions to military funding through what’s known as sequestration. Since then, I have worked with others in Congress to mitigate the impact of those cuts by passing a law allowing inter-branch spending flexibility and by supporting subsequent budgets that restored some, but not all of the funding.
However, those “Band-Aid” fixes are set to expire, and the full impact of sequestration will be felt beginning in Fiscal Year 2016 if Congress doesn’t act. That’s why I’m working to build a bi-partisan coalition of lawmakers willing to fix sequestration and stop the devastating cuts that would be so harmful to our nation’s military.
Recently, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) and I wrote a bi-partisan letter to every Representative and Senator about the dangers of continued military cuts. In it, we highlighted an important study by the U.S. Army demonstrating how sequestration would affect as many as 30 installations throughout the country, including Fort Rucker in Alabama.
No area of the federal budget is immune from “belt-tightening,” and that certainly includes the military. However, any changes to our Armed Forces should reflect national priorities, not budgetary or political circumstances. The United States must first decide what is required to protect this country and its interests, and then budget accordingly.
Consider the growth and alarming advance of ISIS, or the implications of an increasingly-aggressive Russia. Should we really allow such a dramatic reduction to the Army’s force strength or similar reductions to the capabilities of other service branches?
Some believe more taxes are the answer. I do not. Last year, the federal government took in more revenue than ever before in the history of the republic.
Revenue is not the problem; out-of-control spending in other areas of government is. The answer is to set better priorities and make more responsible, conservative choices with federal spending. Budget discussions are just now beginning, but I am wasting no time making it clear to House and Senate leaders how important it is to fix sequestration before it devastates our Armed Forces and further compromises military readiness.
Martha Roby represents Covington County in the U.S. House of Representatives.