WASHINGTON: While much of the defense press was focused yesterday on the HASC markup and the SASC hearing about the F-35, my colleague at DoDBuzz spotted a good story about sequestration.
Here’s the core of Phil Ewing’s story:
CEO Jim McNerney warned Tuesday that the threat of next year’s automatic, across-the-board budget growth reductions might force him to lay people off – even before the guillotine actually falls.
Big B, like all of America’s corporate titans, hates ‘uncertainty,’ and Congress has outdone itself this time, McNerney said.
“Sequestration is the greatest example of Washington-induced uncertainty I’ve ever seen in my life,” he said. “Our reaction is to be very conservative … We have to anticipate the worst and hope for the best.”
We have heard virtually nothing productive from Capitol Hill in the last month, unless you’re a Republican and actually believe Paul Ryan’s budget is anything but a way to raise money and feed the beast of the base.
In an op-ed today, Ryan and HASC Chairman Rep. Buck McKeon say this:
“This sequester was never intended to be policy. It was meant to be something both parties wished to avoid, in order to motivate members of the supercommittee to work together.”
OK, so Congress passed a law but wasn’t really serious about it? Perhaps we can refer to it as a “forcing function.” Ryan and McKeon go on in their op-ed to prove they are all about the election, and not really about preventing sequestration: “House Republicans are bringing specific proposals to the table. If the Democrats mean what they say, it is time for them to work with us to spare our troops from the consequences of Washington’s failures.” Compromise, it appears, is only for one side to embrace.
Perhaps tough words from a major campaign contributor with excellent access at the White House can get someone on Capitol HIll off their, umm, duffs. Not likely until after the elections, but one should always hope.