Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said that, with the House returning for only eight days after the summer recess, the only hope to stop devastating defense cuts is the lame-duck session.
Without an agreement, $600 billion will be slashed from the Pentagon on Jan. 3, putting more than a million jobs on the line and reducing the Navy to its smallest fleet since 1915 with just 232 ships.
“Do you see anything in the Democratic-controlled Senate to avoid sequestration? Do you see the commander-in-chief, instead of preaching to the Congress, we’ve got to fix this before it starts, he is sitting on the sidelines and allowing it to begin,” Graham blasted last night on Fox.
“The lame duck is the hope that will somehow fix this before January of next year,” he added.
Yesterday, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) released letters received from 13 of the nation’s largest defense contractors detailing the early impacts of the looming sequestration.
“The leaders of America’s defense industry share our deep concern that the across-the-board defense budget cuts slated to occur in less than four months will devastate the readiness of our armed forces to meet current and future threats to our nation’s security, will eliminate high-paying jobs in the industry, and will have a negative and long-lasting impact on the defense industrial base,” McCain said. “Some of these companies are already seeing the effects of the impending cuts in a slowdown of contract awards and difficulty in recruiting and retaining skilled workers.”
“American workers are unemployed today because of the uncertainty that has been allowed to surround sequestration,” Sean O’Keefe, EADS chairman and CEO, told McCain.
Graham said even putting the cuts on the table as a condition of the deficit-reduction supercommittee’s success was a horrible idea.
“Look at Iran. Look at the world as it is. Is now the time to disarm?” he said. “Is now the time to take the capabilities off the table that we worked on for years? Where did the party of Ronald Reagan go?”
“The biggest threat to our way of life, quite frankly, is the rise of radical Islam and Iran getting a nuclear weapon. And that’s going to happen sooner rather than later,” Graham continued. “And what are we — what signals are we sending our enemies when we take our Defense Department and put it on the chopping block? What signals are we sending to the world about America’s resolve to protect her freedom and everyone else’s?”