Tags: pentagon | sequestration | budget | controls | spending | cuts

Pentagon Warned Sequestration Budget Controls Not Going Away

By    |   Thursday, 05 Mar 2015 07:42 PM

Lawmakers have bluntly warned Pentagon officials that sequestration's budget caps won't be lifted anytime soon, with the next round of slashes expected to hit the military in the fall, Military Times reports.

"The [Budget Control Act] is the law of the land," California Republican Rep. Ken Calvert declared. "Until that's changed, we must abide by it. So we have a serious funding gap between the strategy and the law."

Minnesota Democratic Rep. Betty McCollum echoed the gloomy reality.

"Even though I believe in miracles, it is becoming very clear to me that … the Budget Control Act funding levels will be the law of the land," she said, Military Times reports.

The pair were referring to the 2011 law establishing sequestration that automatically cuts a certain percentage of funding from every defense budget account to reduce government spending.

But at a Wednesday hearing before the House Appropriations Committee's defense panel, Defense Secretary Ash Carter warned the nation will pay dearly for the cuts, the Military Times reports.

"We would have to change the shape and not just the size of our military, significantly affecting parts of our defense strategy. We cannot meet sequester with further half-measures," Carter said. "If we're stuck with sequestration's budget cuts over the long term, our entire nation will have to live with the answers."

Many lawmakers say they support lifting the budget caps, but are resigned to the fact it's probably not politically possible, Military Times reports.

"I completely agree that the [sequestration law] needs to be modified to avoid dramatic consequences and long-term negative impacts on our military capability," said New Jersey Republican Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.

"But unless and until the law is changed, this committee has no choice but to draft our bill to comply with the caps, at least $37 billion below the president's budget request."

"So we'll need to work very closely together to ensure the funding you are appropriated is sufficient to take care of our uniformed and civilian personnel, maintain your readiness at the highest possible level, and sustain our technological advantages," he said.

President Barack Obama's budget request for fiscal 2016, beginning Oct. 1, is $38 billion over the sequestration cap, Military Times notes, and Republicans are are divided on the issue, with conservatives and budget hawks eager to rein in military budgets and moderates supporting expenditures for national security.

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Lawmakers have bluntly warned Pentagon officials that sequestration's budget caps won't be lifted anytime soon, with the next round of slashes expected to hit the military in the fall, Military Times reports.
pentagon, sequestration, budget, controls, spending, cuts
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2015-42-05
Thursday, 05 Mar 2015 07:42 PM
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