Griffin: House Plan Rejects Indiscriminate Cuts, Finds ‘Sensible and Targeted Savings’

WASHINGTON – Congressman Tim Griffin (AR-02) issued the following statement after House passage of the Sequester Replacement Reconciliation Act of 2012 (H.R. 5652):

“Because the ‘Supercommittee’ failed to agree on reducing federal spending last fall, current law requires an across-the-board spending cut in January.  The problem with such a broad cut is that it affects both good and bad programs equally, and this approach would hit our military servicemembers and their families particularly hard.  Secretary Panetta has said it would ‘do untold damage to our national defense.’  Unlike the President, who favors raising taxes on hardworking Arkansans, my colleagues and I reject those indiscriminate cuts in favor of sensible and targeted savings through the elimination of slush funds and bailouts, and by controlling spending and reducing wasteful, duplicative programs.”        

H.R. 5652 would reduce the federal deficit by $242.8 billion over 10 years.  For example, it would save $22 billion by eliminating the Dodd-Frank Act’s “too big to fail” fund, $7.6 billion by closing a child tax credit loophole that’s allowing noncitizens to receive fraudulent tax refunds, approximately $60 billion by repealing various provisions of the President’s health care law, $80 billion by increasing federal employee pension contributions five percent and $60 billion through medical liability reform. 

If this smart approach to savings is not implemented, sequestration would have a “devastating” effect on the Department of Defense, according to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.  There would be 100,000 soldiers, sailors, Marines, and airmen separated from service, leaving the smallest ground force since 1940.  The United States Navy would be left with a fleet of fewer than 230 ships – the smallest number since 1915.  The Air Force would be left with the smallest tactical fighter force in its history. 

In February, General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said, “Sequestration leaves me three places to go to find the additional money: operations, maintenance, and training.  That’s the definition of a hollow force.”