U.S. Senate candidate Josh Mandel on Thursday criticized automatic defense budget cuts that will occur in January if Congress doesn’t act to stop the sequestration process.
Speaking at the VFW Post 8312 as part of the Veterans for Romney Ohio Coalition kickoff, Mandel said Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney also understands that sequestration “will cause massive massive military cuts which I believe will put the American citizens at a safety risk throughout the United States and throughout the world.”
Sequestration, automatic federal spending cuts to domestic and military programs, was mandated by Congress after its bipartisan deficit reduction committee failed to reach agreement last November.
In remarks made during an interview after his speech Mandel, a Republican and Ohio treasurer, said manufacturing, farming and Wright-Patterson Air Force Base are top priorities in the Miami Valley and he would work to protect the base-related jobs. He suggested closing some bases in Europe to save money, and then using the money to protect Medicare and Social Security.
Mandel said he has not endorsed the Medicare reform proposed by U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, the Wisconsin Republican who is Romney’s running mate. The plan would include providing future senior citizens with vouchers to buy their own health insurance.
Mandel said farm group leaders he recently spoke to are concerned about the stalled five-year federal farm bill, which passed in the Senate but not the House.
“They were frustrated with partisan gridlock in Washington that is holding things up,” said Mandel, touting his ability to be bipartisan. “I agree with them that Washington is broken and both parties are at fault.”
Justin Barasky, spokesman for Sen. Sherrod Brown, Mandel’s Democratic opponent, said Mandel voted with Republicans about 95 percent of the time in the Ohio House.
“And on this campaign he’s repeatedly taken positions that are in lockstep with the national Republican bosses that are pulling his strings,” said Barasky. “For Josh Mandel to claim he is bipartisan is just one of many lies he’s told this campaign.”