According to research by Politico, interest in the impending automatic defense cuts took a dive leading up to the election. But as the post-election polling and punditry subside, American citizens are returning their focus to pressing matters such as the so-called fiscal cliff and sequestration.
Yet on Capitol Hill—where these potential defense cuts are a daily topic of discussion—the government has not found a way to stop them. Moreover, the Obama Administration’s only actions on sequestration have been to try to quiet public concern over its consequences rather than prevent it from happening. Though he has offered legally questionable assurances on layoffs and contract terminations caused by sequestration, President Obama has not taken any legitimate steps to stop them.
The Heritage Foundation and others have been warning about the effects of sequestration since its creation. Various Members of Congress have been taking the discussion to their districts around the country. Military leaders have been urging action to stop the cuts for over a year.
Yet Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D–NV) have refused to accept any solution unless it includes tax increases. In addition, they have failed to propose credible solutions to reform the biggest driver of the national debt and largest portion of federal spending: the entitlement programs. (continues below chart)
Those who favor sequestration argue that the U.S. spends too much on defense. Yet even without the blind, across-the-board cuts of sequestration, the current state of the U.S. military is still cause for immediate attention. All of the services are in dire need of modernization, be it fighter jets, Navy ships, or body armor.
Rather than punting on the issue of additional defense cuts—the President’s budget request has already projected a dramatic reduction in security spending—the Obama Administration should work with Congress to legitimately address sequestration before January 2. It should also stop putting the burden of deficit reduction on the back of the defense budget, especially because providing a strong defense falls squarely within the purview of the federal government.
There is little time left to reach a solution. Paths forward have already been proposed that preserve our national security without unnecessarily burdening Americans. It’s time for the President and Congress to fulfill their constitutional responsibility to provide for the common defense by fully funding our military into the future.