Sequestration Will Have Far Reaching Consequences, Warns Panetta

With the threat of sequestration looming, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta warned a Senate Appropriations subcommittee Wednesday that allowing the automatic defense cuts to take place will have consequences beyond a constrained military.

Although noting that “the Defense Department is not a jobs program,” Panetta acknowledged that the cuts could result in a one percent increase in the nation’s unemployment rate.

“That kind of sequestration cut across the board will have a serious impact, not only on our men and women in uniform, but our personnel and the contractors that serve the Defense establishment,” Panetta said.

The Secretary also confirmed that the lay-off notices from contractors would have to come at least 60 to 90 days before they take place, meaning they will arrive closer to the November Presidential election than many Democrats would like.

Panetta broadly described the cuts as an impending “disaster.”

“It was designed to be a disaster, because the hope was that it would be such a disaster that Congress would respond and do what was right,” Panetta said. “I’m just here to tell you, yes, it would be a disaster.”

Sequestration, which will guarantee half a trillion in cuts among Defense spending, was the byproduct of last summer’s debt ceiling negotiations. In order to prevent the U.S. from defaulting on its loans, Congress established a committee dedicated to finding $1.2 trillion in spending cuts or risk having across-the-board cuts in Defense and non-defense spending.

The committee failed to come to an agreement by their fixed deadline last November. The cuts are currently scheduled to take place in early 2013.

Tags: , ,

About TRNS Washington Desk

View all posts by TRNS Washington Desk
TRNS Washington Desk
News updates from on and around Capitol Hill.

LISTEN: The Weekend Ahead – October 25-27

The Day Ahead Logo

Elections in Tunisia and Brazil, and human rights reviews of Iraq, Iran and Egypt.

LISTEN: The World in 2:00 – October 24, 2014

The World in 2:00 continents logo

Ebola spreads to Mali, the Security Council attempts to strengthen Somalia’s arms embargo and a UN expert on immigration says it’s time for holistic reform.

Issa: CDC Chief Bumbled Ebola Response

Members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee were critical of Centers For Disease Control and the Department of Homeland Security.

NYC Mayor: New York City Fully Prepared to Handle Ebola

NYC Public Advocate Bill de Blasio. Photo/The office of Public Advocate for the City of New York

A doctor who recently returned from Guinea was diagnosed with Ebola on Thursday at a New York City hospital.

Brownstein: Reducing Methane Emissions Helps Job Growth, Economy

Expanding the methane mitigation industry will help with job growth and protect the environment, according to the Chief Counsel of the U.S. Climate and Energy Program.

UN in Brief: Calm & Conflict for October 24, 2014

UN Daily Brief Square

UN staff returning from West Africa to ‘self-monitor’ for Ebola, human rights expert says immigration debate ‘toxic’ and Somali cargo inspections are approved.