Transcript: GOP Sen. Kelly Ayotte says Obama shouldn’t use defense sequestration cuts as a “bargaining chip”

Transcribed & edited by Jenny Jiang

Transcript of remarks by Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) on sequestration at a press briefing on Feb. 6, 2013:

…Here’s where we are: We know based even from seeing our Secretary of Defense and from the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff this weekend on the Sunday shows what them impact of sequestration is going to be to our national defense.

And I guess I would ask everyone here do we believe it’s safer around the world right now with Iran marching toward nuclear weapon capability, with the assault and all of the 60,000 people who have been murdered in Syria, with the weapons we have seen coming from Qaddafi regime that have ended up with the incident in Algeria. We can go on and on about the challenges that we face, and let’s not forget we are still at war with our troops that we recently visited in Afghanistan.

So our national security challenges remain great and we have already reduced defense spending for $487 billion.

And it’s time for the Commander-in-Chief – his foremost responsibility and our’s – to keep the American people safe. That we stop this sequestration.

And frankly, our defense should not be used as a bargaining chip because of other policy aspirations that people want to accomplish.

And so, we’ve introduced this bill that is similar to the one that we introduced last year, that Chairman [Buck] McKeon introduced on the House that addresses sequestration for defense and non-defense through the end of the fiscal year in September without raising taxes, essentially taking the President’s own fiscal commission proposal from Simpson-Bowles on workforce attrition to come up with savings. And also, we’ve added on a Congressional pay freeze as well to pay for this.

Yesterday, we heard what the President had to say. His proposal is unacceptable. It’s insufficient. I agree with Chairman McKeon on this.

You know, every discussion we’ve heard from this President seems to begin and end with tax increases despite the fact that we’ve already given $600 billion in additional revenue. Just for a few months’ fix, he also wants more on that and more cuts to our defense even though his own Secretary of Defense said if we don’t address the sequestration we’ll be shooting ourselves in the head, we’ll be hollowing out our military, we’ll be substantially reducing our naval fleet, our armed forces at a dangerous time in the world.

So I hope my colleagues across both sides of the aisle will join in this common-sense effort. It gives us the opportunity to work out the bigger picture fiscal issues now that the Senate Democrats have said they’re willing to do a budget. I also serve on the budget committee.

But this bill makes sense. I hope it’s passed quickly, and I also would share what Senator Inhofe said – Let’s put where we are now. May the President of the United States who said during the campaign, “This is not going to happen”, when he talked about sequestration.

Well, here we are. His administration stopped notices from going forward, re-wrote the law on that so that people wouldn’t be warned on the impact on it. And now, he wants to use it to increase more taxes when we have a common-sense proposal right here from his own fiscal commission we could pass to get us through September and really makes sense so we don’t undermine our national security for generations as our Secretary of Defense has said.


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4 Comments on “Transcript: GOP Sen. Kelly Ayotte says Obama shouldn’t use defense sequestration cuts as a “bargaining chip”

  1. Pingback: Republicans criticize Obama’s proposal to avert sequestration as “irresponsible”, present short-term fix | What The Folly?!

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  3. Pingback: Transcript: GOP Sen. James Inhofe says Obama's plan to avert sequestration is a "non-starter" | What The Folly?!

  4. Pingback: Transcript: GOP Rep. Buck McKeon calls Obama's sequestration plan "irresponsible" | What The Folly?!

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