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Free Lance-Star: Wittman seeks end to sequestration, defense budget cuts

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Montross, May 1, 2015 | comments

A recent guest columnist highlighted my public advocacy against harmful defense budget cuts slated for later this year. I am glad he shares my commitment.

These additional reductions to our defense budget—known as sequestration—will hollow out our military and leave our nation in a position where our military leaders say we will be unable to defend against the threats we face.

I fought hard to prevent these cuts from taking effect in previous years, and while I was pleased that they were delayed, I have continued to sound the alarm about the need to prevent them permanently.

The tendency of Congress to govern by crisis with shortsighted, temporary spending deals does not provide our military—or our nation—with the stability necessary to implement a successful national security strategy.

Sequestration itself is, in fact, a product of Washington’s failure to pass budgets and funding bills on time.

As the implementation date of sequestration approaches, I am hosting classified briefings for members of Congress, communicating with military leaders, consulting budget experts and pursuing solutions.

At the same time, I’m working to ensure that our military and its capabilities are not weakened by the current uncertainty.

To that end, I pushed successfully for a responsible, strategy-driven defense funding level in the recent House-passed budget resolution that is consistent with the level of funding requested by the Department of Defense.

And in the coming weeks I’ll be playing a leadership role in House Armed Services Committee debates on next year’s National Defense Authorization Act.

My fight against sequestration also has another element: I want to make sure our servicemen and women and our nation are not put in this position again.

For that reason, I began the new Congress in January by introducing a pair of government reform bills.

Together, these bills are geared to return Congress to a regular budgeting schedule and, in turn, prevent the very type of conditions that led to the existence of sequestration.

Language similar to one of my bills—the No Budget, No Pay Act—was successfully included in the House budget resolution in March.

I speak with folks in our region every day, and there are two consistent themes to these discussions: fixing Washington, and eliminating the uncertainty of sequestration so we can turn to the critical issue of getting our economy back on track. Please rest assured that I leave my home in Westmoreland County each morning fully committed to both goals.

Rob Wittman, a resident of Montross, represents the 1st District in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Note: This piece originally appeared in The Free Lance Star on May 1, 2015. 

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