Press Release Records
Press Release of Senator King
Collins, King Call on President and Congress to Reach Agreement to Avert Sequestration, Reduce Debt
Wednesday, February 20, 2013
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- In a letter sent to President Barack Obama yesterday, Senators Susan Collins and Angus King call on the President to convene a meeting with Congressional leaders that must conclude with an agreement to avert sequestration and reduce our national debt.
In the letter, the Senators express deep concern over the impact that sequestration would have on national security, including the defense industrial base in Maine, and our nation’s fragile economic recovery.
“Failure to avert such an outcome could have severe ramifications for our nation’s shipbuilding industrial base, including Bath Iron Works, in Maine, the nation’s premier shipbuilder and employer of more than 5,000 workers,” the Senators write.
“Urgency and resolve are critical. We urge the President to convene a meeting, as soon as possible, with Congressional leaders to conclude an agreement to avert sequestration and set our nation on a sound fiscal path that both recognizes priorities and reduces our unsustainable $16.5 trillion debt.”
Below is the full text of the letter:
February 19, 2012
President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Northwest
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mr. President:
Unless our nation's leaders can come together on a plan to stave off sequestration, on March 1, 2013, $85 billion in automatic, indiscriminate spending cuts will go into effect for the remainder of this fiscal year– cuts that, as you are well aware, will have a devastating impact on our national security and our fragile economic recovery.
If sequestration goes into effect or a year-long fiscal year 2013 Department of Defense funding bill is not passed, the effects will be devastating to our national security and defense industrial base as Secretary of Defense Panetta and the service chiefs have repeatedly warned. The combination of sequestration and a long-term Continuing Resolution would effectively eliminate the prospect of a 10-ship DDG-51 multi-year procurement that would deliver the bare minimum numbers of multi-mission major surface combatants to support your revised defense strategy and preserve competition in the large surface combatant shipbuilding industry and its 16,000 domestic jobs. Failure to avert such an outcome could have severe ramifications for our nation’s shipbuilding industrial base, including Bath Iron Works in Maine, the nation’s premier shipbuilder and employer of more than 5,000 workers.
The threat of sequestration is already having an effect on our economy. In the last economic quarter, defense spending decreased by an astonishing 22 percent annual rate, which the Council of Economic Advisers attributed to the looming sequestration deadline. Additionally, a separate Aerospace Industries Association report found that a full year of sequestration would result in the loss of approximately two million defense and non-defense jobs. For example, at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, the Navy is prepared to cut the pay of its civilian workforce by 20 percent, the result of a 22-day furlough, and to defer or cancel critical repairs to the USS MIAMI submarine. These jobs are not just a count of government billets, a macroeconomic statistic, or an unemployment rate fluctuation. These jobs provide financial security for our constituents and health insurance for their families. These are the Americans facing the uncertainty and consequences of inaction to reach a deal.
We write today to express our specific commitment to a bipartisan and long-term deficit reduction solution to avoid damage to our national security, important domestic priorities, and our economy. It will require scrutiny and decreases in spending across all areas, including non-defense and defense discretionary and mandatory, as well as comprehensive tax reform.
Less than two weeks remain before sequestration cuts go into effect, but there is still time for a better approach. We want to express our support for the following principles and make one request of you:
On their behalf, we ask for your commitment to act, and we thank you for your service to our nation.