Conservative Policy Group Urges Congress to Stop Sequestration

Monday, 11 Feb 2013 09:33 AM

By Newsmax Wires

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The conservative Foreign Policy Initiative is urging congressional leaders to avoid automatic spending cuts scheduled to take effect March 1, warning that they pose an "unacceptable risk" to national security.

In a letter signed by 41 people, including former Defense Secretary Bob Gates and former Sen. Joseph Lieberman, FPI tells House Speaker John Boehner, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi that sequestration cuts will have a "chilling" effect on the ability of the United States to protect itself and its interest abroad and will also do further damage to the U.S. economy.

The letter was to be delivered Monday, according to Politico.

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“As the March 1st deadline nears for unprecedented, across-the-board cuts to our military, we write to urge you to work together to avoid this unnecessary and dangerous blow to American power and global leadership," the FPI letter reads, reports Politico.

"You have each expressed your opposition to allowing these cuts to go into effect. They will go into effect without congressional action. You are the leaders of Congress. We ask that you act as leaders to stop sequestration now. In recent days, the Defense Department leadership has developed its plans for operating under sequestration. The details that have been released thus far are chilling.”

The letter focuses primarily on looming defense cuts across the Navy, Air Force, and Army branches, noting that the cuts will indefinitely delay the important deployment of a carrier strike group to the Persian Gulf. That decision, the FPI signees write, "significantly weakens America’s ability to provide regional security and protection to allies at a time when the Iranian regime continues its work to acquire a nuclear weapons capability."

The Air Force, meanwhile, the letter says, "will erode America's vitally important airpower capabilities," including support for the Army's logistical needs. In addition, Politico reports, the letter warns that sequestration cuts will delay "roughly 80 percent" of training for Brigade combat teams.

"Sequestration will result in unacceptable risk for U.S. national security,” the signees write. “It will degrade our ability to defend our allies, deter aggression, and promote and protect American economic interests. It will erode the credibility of our treaty commitments abroad.

"It will be a self-inflicted wound to American strength and leadership in the world," the letter continues, noting that, "History will not look kindly on this abdication of responsibility, but will hold accountable the President and the Congress who together chose such a dangerous course.”

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In the FPI's effort to head off sequestration, the nonprofit, bipartisan organization has posted on its website recent writings from Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol, who is against the idea of using sequestration as a leverage tool over President Barack Obama.

Kristol sits on the FPI board.

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