Hanna: Possible defense cuts could harm upstate

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WKTV) – Congressman Richard Hanna voted to order a report that would detail possible sequestration defense cuts and the effect they would have on our national security.

The across-the-board defense cuts that are looming before Congress are commonly referred to as “sequestration” cuts.

According to Hanna, because of the “Super Committee’s” failure to reduce the national deficit, the Budget Control Act requires wide sweeping spending cuts: a 10 percent cut to the Department of Defense and an 8 percent cut to non-defense discretionary spending.

The House approved this legislation today by a vote of 414 – 2.

"Put simply, sequestration would include vast consequences to our Armed Forces and national defense," Rep. Hanna said. "The effects of sequestration would be felt tremendously in upstate New York and could potentially harm Rome Lab, the Defense Finance and Accounting Services (DFAS), the Eastern Air Defense Sector (EADS) and numerous partners, which would be devastating to our local economy.”

The President’s Office of Management and Budget has the sole authority to determine the proportional allocations of any cuts brought about as a result of a sequestration. However, the Administration has yet to provide information on how a sequester would be executed and it has not offered a solution to replace the sequester threat, Hanna's office says. Rep. Hanna said that Washington can still act to prevent this dire situation from happening that would result in harming our national security and putting scores of Americans out of work.

“It is my hope that this report will shed a bit of light on such uncertainty and inspire the Senate and President to join the House in replacing sequestration with more responsible proposals,” Rep. Hanna said. “The ‘Super Committee’ failed to act, but there are plenty of people in Washington who still can.”

Uncertainty surrounding how sequestration would be implemented and the effects that it would have on our nation's Armed Services and social programs are already leading to economic consequences.

Several of the small businesses and defense contractors that provide the essential materials and services that our men and women in uniform require to complete their missions and create the jobs that keep our economy on track have already reduced revenue projections and begun preparations for layoff notices.

The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) has estimated that implementation would lead to an increase in the unemployment rate of 0.7 percent and a 1 percent drop in America's GDP by 2014. According to the NAM report, New York would be the fifth-hardest-hit state, with a projected 42,100 jobs lost in 2014, many of them coming from the Southern Tier and Upstate.

Robert J. Stevens, chairman and CEO at Lockheed Martin, has said that “from an industry perspective, the near-term horizon is completely obscured by a fog of uncertainty... We have no insight into how sequestration ... will be implemented, which programs will be curtailed, which sites will be closed, which technologies will be discontinued.”

Lockheed anticipates a roughly 10 percent reduction across the board should sequestration be implemented, and those reductions could be felt locally in Owego and Syracuse. In addition, the Aerospace Industries Association has found that 2.1 million jobs would be lost and that U.S. economic growth could face a 25 percent reduction.

The head of the Administration’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has agreed that automatic cuts "would be terrible for our country," and yet the OMB has not taken the initial steps to determine what the true extent of those cuts would be should the cuts take place.

“I’m hopeful that we can correct this situation before these cuts damage our national security, our markets, and our economy,” Rep. Hanna said. “I have been actively working to find a solution to stop the Department of Defense from bearing irrational cuts while still addressing the government’s excessive debt and instituting the savings directed by the Budget Control Act. As a cosponsor of this legislation, I am hopeful that the Senate will follow the House’s lead and pass this bill in order to allow the American people the opportunity to see the true consequences that sequestration would bring about without corrective action."

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