Ending Sequestration?

A leading congressional “defense hawk” said he is working to educate his colleagues on the fact that “you can’t disproportionately cut defense—taking 50 percent of the cuts in 18 percent of the budget.” Rep. Rob Wittman (R-Va.), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee’s readiness panel, said the Defense Department “has given and given” with a total of $1.3 trillion in cuts in the last several years. “No other part of the budget has gotten anywhere near that much,” Wittman told reporters July 17 in Washington, D.C. “You can’t balance the budget on the backs of the men and women in the military. You’ve got to look at other places in the budget,” he said. Wittman has been taking members without defense experience to see what the military is doing and said he believes he is starting to convert some of them. With at least 56 new members in the next Congress, Wittman said he hopes the debate can be reigniting on ending sequestration, at least for the military. However, he sees no sign that Congress can pass any of the Fiscal 2015 appropriations bills by the Oct. 1 deadline, though he expects a short continuing resolution to fund the government into the new budget year and quick passage of an omnibus funding bill shortly after the November elections.