Sequestration’s shadow darkens

Reuters

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta (L) and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey brief the media at the Pentagon Briefing Room in Washington, DC January 26, 2012.

Article Highlights

  • Should there be a sequestration delay to avoid the inconvenient timing of WARN act notifications? @MEaglen

    Tweet This

  • Republican position: Either find a 1 year fix to the 2012 sequestration cuts or it goes into effect Jan. 2.

    Tweet This

  • “Sequestration’s shadow is already bearing consequences for the Pentagon and industry.” @MEaglen

    Tweet This

House and Senate Republican leaders released a letter Friday — the 13th — that will effectively kill an increasingly favored option in Washington to temporarily delay the onset of sequestration (automatic budget cuts) by three or six months.

It comes on the heels of President Obama’s former campaign manager floating the idea that Senate Democrats should consider a six-month delay of sequestration in order to avoid poorly-timed WARN Act notices offered on the eve of the November elections across the country to aerospace, shipbuilding and defense workers.

The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification act requires employers of a certain size to notify their employees when mass layoffs may be coming so they can prepare. In most states, the act mandates that employers must provide at least 60 days’ notice before possible layoff notification. In New York and California, employers must provide 90 days notice, however.

Because sequestration goes into effect on January 2, 2012, these pink-slip precursors would go out around October 4 in New York and California, and November 2 in most other states.

The effect of thousands of employees receiving word that their jobs could disappear in a few short months before the election could dramatically swing the vote against incumbents, including the President.

Welcome to the politics of the WARN act. A sequestration delay had been growing in popularity to free up more time to find a comprehensive solution to the problem (including broader tax reform) and now to avoid the inconvenient timing of WARN act notifications.

The Republican position is now simple: either find a one year “fix” to the 2013 sequestration cuts — preferably soon, but in lame duck session if necessary — or else sequestration goes into effect January 2.

Republicans are not the only ones digging in their heels. In response to a letter from House Armed Services Chairman Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) urging Senate action to address sequestration’s impact on the U.S. military, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) sent a curt reply that chastised the chairman for urging the Senate to “renege on spending cuts.” The Majority Leader attempted to lay the blame for sequestration at the feet of Congressional Republicans, Mitt Romney, Grover Norquist, and the Tea Party.

The tone of the letter is not that of someone seemingly searching for a compromise anytime soon. Despite ongoing bipartisan talks in the Senate to find a compromise solution to sequestration in 2013, the Majority Leader seems to be preparing for a long battle.

This is bad news for the military, the defense manufacturing workforce, and the country. Sequestration’s shadow is already bearing consequences for the Pentagon and industry. The military cannot afford this magnitude of additional budget cuts, and those in uniform certainly don’t deserve to be hostages in a much larger political fight.

Mackenzie Eaglen is a resident fellow in the Marilyn Ware Center for Security Studies.

Also Visit
AEIdeas Blog The American Magazine
About the Author

 

Mackenzie
Eaglen

What's new on AEI

Love people, not pleasure
image Oval Office lacks resolve on Ukraine
image Middle East Morass: A public opinion rundown of Iraq, Iran, and more
image Verizon's Inspire Her Mind ad and the facts they didn't tell you
AEI on Facebook
Events Calendar
  • 21
    MON
  • 22
    TUE
  • 23
    WED
  • 24
    THU
  • 25
    FRI
Monday, July 21, 2014 | 9:15 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Closing the gaps in health outcomes: Alternative paths forward

Please join us for a broader exploration of targeted interventions that provide real promise for reducing health disparities, limiting or delaying the onset of chronic health conditions, and improving the performance of the US health care system.

Monday, July 21, 2014 | 4:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Comprehending comprehensive universities

Join us for a panel discussion that seeks to comprehend the comprehensives and to determine the role these schools play in the nation’s college completion agenda.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014 | 8:50 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Who governs the Internet? A conversation on securing the multistakeholder process

Please join AEI’s Center for Internet, Communications, and Technology Policy for a conference to address key steps we can take, as members of the global community, to maintain a free Internet.

Event Registration is Closed
Thursday, July 24, 2014 | 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
Expanding opportunity in America: A conversation with House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan

Please join us as House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) unveils a new set of policy reforms aimed at reducing poverty and increasing upward mobility throughout America.

Thursday, July 24, 2014 | 6:00 p.m. – 7:15 p.m.
Is it time to end the Export-Import Bank?

We welcome you to join us at AEI as POLITICO’s Ben White moderates a lively debate between Tim Carney, one of the bank’s fiercest critics, and Tony Fratto, one of the agency’s staunchest defenders.

No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled today.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.