We have a deep obligation to pass on to the next generation of Americans the blessings of liberty and freedom. That is why I have fought and continue to fight the deep cuts, otherwise known in Washington as “sequestration”, from further impacting the Department of Defense (DoD) and our community.
Many of our friends and neighbors, and perhaps you, have already felt the impact of sequestration, whether in the form of civilian furloughs or the reduction of available contracts that so many of our local job creators rely upon. Removing the unnecessary, damaging effect of sequestration is a top priority for my office.
I do not apologize for taking bold actions on behalf of the hard-working men and women of Virginia’s Second Congressional District. Most recently, I voted against adjournment for the August recess. There is absolutely no reason why Congress should not be in session working on a bipartisan, bicameral solution to sequestration. With so many of our DoD civilian employees being furloughed, it is incumbent upon Congress and the President to come to a workable agreement.
Earlier this year, I met with President Obama to discuss the need to stop sequestration. I shared with the President the harmful impacts sequestration would have on our region and we are feeling those negative changes now. We need effective leadership from our Commander in Chief and his schedule should reflect this priority. He should call Congress back into session and meet with us to end sequestration now!
In an effort to stop sequestration’s impact on our district, to date I have:
• Introduced an amendment to the FY13 National Defense Authorization Act that would have stopped sequestration in 2012 if Congress passed a reconciliation bill or other legislation that offset the cuts over five years. The Senate failed to move on this amendment.
• Voted for H.R. 6365, the National Security and Job Protection Act, which repeals sequestration if a bill were enacted to offset the cuts. It further required the President to put forth a plan to replace the sequester with other savings by October 15 of last year. The Senate never took up the bill; nor did the President act.
• Voted for the Sequester Replacement Reconciliation Act of 2012, H.R. 5652, which passed the House last May. The Senate did not take up the bill.
• Voted for the House Budget which brings DoD spending back to pre-sequester levels.
• Voted for the FY14 DoD Appropriations bill which funds the military services at pre-sequester levels, thereby eliminating any further need for civilian furloughs.
• Asked the President to call Congress into a Joint Session to address these cuts, and asked House leadership to keep us in session unless and until the budget cuts are addressed.
• Voted against adjournment.
The only silver lining is the recent announcement by the Pentagon that it will reduce DoD civilian employee furloughs from 11 to six days. Although I am pleased in the sharp reduction, concerns remain for thousands of Virginians who continue to face a significant loss of pay. For several months, I have called on the DoD to eliminate all furlough days or to allow the Service Secretaries to determine within their own budgets whether any are needed at all. Bottom line: furloughs are unnecessary and should be eliminated entirely.
I am humbled and honored to serve the good people of the second district of Virginia, home to more men and women in uniform and retirees than any other district in the country. They deserve more than just lip service; they deserve action. I will not stop until sequestration is no longer on the table.
Mindful that I work for you, I remain
Yours in Freedom,