Today, Speaker John Boehner, R-West Chester Twp., released the following column discussing the impact the president’s sequester will have on Wright-Patterson Air Force Base:
“In 2011, President Obama proposed a series of mandatory spending cuts called a ‘sequester,’ which was subsequently passed by Congress as part of the 2011 debt limit agreement.
“These arbitrary spending cuts, which are scheduled to go into effect March 1, will affect our region if they are implemented. The president’s sequester – or the #Obamaquester, as we call it on Twitter – should be replaced with other, more responsible spending cuts that will help put the country on a path to a balanced budget within 10 years.
“A February 7, 2013 article in the Dayton Daily News illustrates the impact the president’s sequester will have on Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, one of our region’s top employers:
“‘Wright-Patterson could impose unpaid furloughs on up to 13,000 civilian employees and a 15 percent cut in operations as part of spending reductions that could strike the Air Force, the military commander of the base said Thursday… The unpaid time off the job, amounting to a 20 percent pay cut through September, and additional cuts could be triggered if Congress and President Barack Obama fail to reach a deal to avert sequestration, or automatic, across-the-board cuts to federal spending set to begin March 1.’
“The article goes on to quote Col. Cassie B. Barlow, commander of the 88th Air Base Wing headquarters at Wright-Patt, on the specific impact of the president’s sequester:
“‘We have some very specifically trained civilians on this base for specific missions and we don’t have the military trained to do some of those same jobs,’ Barlow told the Dayton Daily News. ‘To the extent that we can use military, if we can, we will do it, but I fully expect if we get to the point where we’re furloughing civilian employees there will be some things at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base that we will not do during the furlough. We just will not be able to get across the finish line without all those employees.
“‘Everybody’s on edge, I would say,’ Barlow told the paper. ‘It’s a tough environment for everybody.’
“The Wright-Patterson situation and others like it across the country show that the president’s sequester is the wrong way to cut spending. That’s why I and my colleagues in the Republican-led House of Representatives proposed a different mechanism to force deficit reduction in 2011, and have twice passed legislation to replace the president’s sequester with more responsible spending cuts and reforms.
“Last May, the House passed the Sequester Replacement Act, authored by our Budget Committee chairman, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), to replace the president’s sequester with responsible spending cuts and reforms. Just weeks ago, the House passed it again, with a few technical updates.
“Unfortunately, the Democratic-controlled Senate has passed no legislation to replace the president’s sequester, and is struggling with the issue as the March 1 date approaches. Why? Because many Democratic senators want to replace the president’s sequester not with better spending cuts, but with more tax increases. And instead of joining Republicans in working to replace the president’s sequester with more responsible spending cuts, the White House is using it to call for further tax increases on the American people, too.
“By further tax increases, I’m not talking about the tax increases that have already been enacted under President Obama. I mean tax hikes that would come on top of the tax hikes that the president allowed to go into effect on January 1; tax hikes that would come on top of the ones the president imposed on families and small businesses through his health care law, ObamaCare, enacted in 2010.
“From listening to the people of our district, I know there are many who share my concern about the president’s sequester — and I also know there is even stronger concern about another round of tax increases.
“Americans know the president got his higher taxes on the wealthy last month when the fiscal cliff was reached, and those tax increases were accompanied by no corresponding spending cuts. They also know spending is the problem in Washington, and the reason we have a national debt that now exceeds the size of our nation’s entire economy.
“Americans want government spending brought under control, and they want it done in a common-sense, responsible way.
“The goal of both parties should be to grow the economy, expand opportunity and prosperity, and ensure America maintains its leading role in the world with a strong national defense.
“If our country is to meet these goals, the president’s harmful sequester must be replaced — not with further tax increases on the American people, but with responsible spending cuts that will help balance the federal budget within the next decade.”
Boehner represents Ohio’s 8th District, which includes all of Butler, Clark, Darke, Miami, and Preble counties, and the southernmost part of Mercer County.