The debt 'super committee' and defense cuts

August 17, 2011 • Vistas

Veterans and active duty military need to watch current congressional and presidential debt reduction proposals very carefully. The following warning is being issued by the Association of the United States Navy (AUSN) and
The debt deal “agreement” sets a course for future reductions in federal spending. But the compromise is remarkably minuscule on details and relies largely on the budget cutting recommendations of a recently named congressional “super committee.” The “deal” reflects the inability of Congress and the White House to come to terms with spending cuts.
Some known facts about the debt deal:
• Enacts $900 billion in federal spending cuts over 10 years and cuts include $350 billion in ‘savings’ from the base defense budget already agreed upon earlier this year.
• Authorizes the President to increase the debt limit by at least $2.1 trillion, eliminating the need for further increases until 2013 (conveniently after his re-election campaign).
• Establishes a congressional bipartisan joint committee, referred to as the “super committee,” tasked with identifying an additional $1.5 trillion in debt reduction, including discretionary (pay raises, procurement, [auth] etc.) and direct (social security, CHAMPUS/Tricare For Life) spending; the Committee will also consider tax revenue measures.
• Requires $1.2 trillion in cuts if the “super committee” fails to reach an agreement, or Congress fails to pass the committee’s recommendations by Dec.23.
• The automatic provision – cuts would be divided between 50 percent defense and 50 percent non-defense spending.
“SuperCom” debt reduction recommendations are due Nov. 23, 2011. Congress is required to vote on their recommendations without amendment by Dec. 23, 2011. And, ensures a vote on a balanced budget constitutional amendment by December 2011. However, if the committee cannot reach an agreement on how to cut an additional $1.5 trillion from the debt or if their recommended cuts fail to be adopted by Congress, an enforcement mechanism (sequestration) will trigger automatic, draconian spending reductions starting in 2013. The cuts would be split 50/50 between domestic and defense spending (defense spending cuts would be about $50 billion per year).
If Congress fails to reach a $1.5 trillion deal by Dec. 23, these automatic cuts would rely heavily on defense spending reductions. These cuts could leave TRICARE and Medicare providers extremely vulnerable. This is only the beginning of several years of successive budget reductions. Both the right and the left are looking to reduce defense spending, cutting manpower and compensation.
It is essential for the military and veterans community to stay actively involved. In the past, Congress and the White House have made ill-advised cuts to defense and the personnel. In the 70s, 80s and 90s, the military regularly cut large numbers, capped pay raises, cut retirement, kicked older retirees out of military health care, and more.
The competition for dollars will activate massive lobbying, campaign donations for other programs that mean jobs and votes in home districts. If we hope to protect and sustain a quality defense force, we’ll need all active, reserve, retirees, and families engaged. The time to act is right now, as decisions on how to cut $350 billion in DOD spending will be made in the next few months. The SuperCom is starting their work in Washington. You can attend a local town hall meeting with Congress, send a letter or fax it to your Congressional and Washington offices (, Send your comments and ‘concerns’ over and over – one time is not enough. The following website can help you with Government contact http:// /issues/alert/?alertid=53048556& queueid= [capwiz:queue_id] . I know the web address is tedious, but it will save time and effort in sending your comments to your politicians. Questions: .
Now, my brief thoughts. None of the debt reduction “cuts” ever seem to mention “welfare” or government waste and “pork.” Welfare recipients won’t be going to defend our country when the military is reduced as planned. After the government’s own watchdog group, GAO, released their newest report on government waste and gross duplication of services, one could easily see 45 percent of the current debt could be eliminated by cleaning up this “pay for votes” and poor management atrocity. Example: How about the $4.89 machine part (hardware store price) purchased by GSA from the government contractor for $894. God bless.

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