While we are pleased Congress made some headway on tax elements of a deal to avert the fiscal cliff, we are concerned that they could not agree to a long term solution to fix a problem no serious person wants – sequestration. We are relieved that the heavy axe of sequestration will not fall today and we expect Congress will use the next two months to find thoughtful alternatives to ill-conceived, indiscriminate budget slashing. More than 2 million Americans across all sectors of the economy will lose their jobs starting in 57 days if our political leaders fail to fix the self-inflicted wound of sequestration and the dangers it poses to our warfighters and national security.
Delaying implementation of sequestration by two months does not eliminate the uncertainty facing our business leaders and our warfighters. If sequestration is not solved in the next 57 days, it would be an abdication of responsibility by the leaders of this country, one that will only heighten Americans’ cynicism and cement the public image of a gridlocked Washington that simply doesn’t work. According to reports, the Pentagon will be forced to send furlough notices to its 800,000 civilian employees if Congress fails to deal with this ill-conceived policy. Those notices will inevitably become layoff notices if nothing is done.
Sequestration is a slow motion catastrophe for our military forces, our space program and virtually every critical function of our government from air traffic control and border security to food inspection and more. We strongly urge Congress and President Obama to find a permanent bipartisan solution to sequestration; the clock has been reset and is ticking again.