Looming Defense Cuts Put North Alabama On Edge
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – The U.S. Secretary of Defense issued a strong warning Wednesday against looming defense cuts that could have a significant impact on north Alabama’s economy.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta gave a blunt assessment of the pending cuts Wednesday morning, telling a congressional committee “I sure as hell hope sequestration doesn’t happen.”
Panetta said the sequestration plan would significantly change the size and force of America’s military, and also pose a direct threat to national security.
The $500 billion defense cut was part of last year’s debt-ceiling compromise bill orchestrated by Congress and President Obama. One initial study from George Mason University suggests that Alabama will be one of the harder-hit states, with Huntsville’s Redstone Arsenal potentially taking the bulk of cuts.
Another recent report from the House Armed Services Commitee said Alabama would be in the list of top ten states most impacted in terms of percentage of total state economy. North Alabama Congressman Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) sounded off on the potential cutbacks Wednesday, calling President Obama’s response to the issue poor.
“Until such time as the president of the United States illuminates the rest of us with what his gameplan is, nobody knows what he’s going to cut,” said Brooks, who voted against the cutback plan. “As of today, only the House of Representatives has proposed and passed any kind of solution to sequestration. The Senate has failed and refused to act, the President of the United States has failed and refused to propose a specific solution.”
The defense cuts will automatically be triggered in January if Congress and the White House can’t agree on a debt-reduction plan before then. The half-trillion dollar military budget reduction would be the largest in U.S. history.