STATEMENT BY SENATORS McCAIN AND AYOTTE ON PRESIDENT OBAMA’S COMMENTS ON SEQUESTRATION
August 20, 2012
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) today released the following joint statement on President Obama’s comments this afternoon regarding sequestration:
“Since the failure last fall of the Congressional ‘Super Committee’ to agree on $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction, President Obama has been AWOL in trying to avert the catastrophic impacts of nearly $500 billion in across-the-board cuts in the defense budget. The President’s comments today demonstrate that he is content to wait until after the November election to engage in discussions to resolve this pressing national security issue. By refusing to lead, President Obama shows that he is willing to risk our nation’s security for purely political purposes.
“President Obama either doesn't understand or doesn't care about the devastating impact that the defense cuts under budget sequestration will have on our national defense, which right now are set to kick in on January 2nd of next year. The president’s own Secretary of Defense has said repeatedly that sequestration would be ‘catastrophic’ and ‘devastating’ to our military’s readiness to defend America, and called it a ‘blind, mindless formula that … risks hollowing out the force.’ Army Chief of Staff General Ray Odierno said that ‘cuts of this magnitude would be catastrophic to the military ... threatening the readiness and potentially the all-volunteer force.’
“While we agree with the President’s decision to exempt from these debilitating cuts the pay and benefits of our military servicemembers who have served so honorably in Iraq and Afghanistan, the actual effect of this decision is to increase the cuts to force modernization and readiness. As the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has said, ‘that's the definition of a hollow force.’
“The responsibility to avert this crisis is shared, and the time to negotiate a solution is now – not after the November election. Among our biggest obstacles to doing so is the President’s failure to lead. President Obama signed into law the legislation that put into place the cuts slated to occur on January 2nd. He has a solemn responsibility – and duty – as Commander in Chief to help devise a solution that averts this disaster and protects our nation’s security.”