Notes from Brett: CR helps address sequestration impact, protects military operation & maintenance

Sequestration spending cuts went into effect March 1 and with them came concerns about the future of our military.

Sequestration spending cuts went into effect March 1 and with them came concerns about the future of our military.

The fears of our military and national security community were not enough to convince President Obama to accept plans by House Republicans to stave off the sequester, nor enough to spur him to propose a plan of his own to move these across-the-board cuts to our military into less critical portions of the federal budget. In light of this lack of action by the President, Congress did include important protections for the military and veterans in the recently-approved Continuing Resolution, which will fund the federal government through September 2013.

This bill removed funding for military and veteran projects that our Armed Forces and veterans no longer wanted or believed were not a high priority. By effectively deferring spending on low-priority projects, Congress was able to prioritize funding for parts of the defense budget that would have felt the sharpest pain of sequestration.

Most notably, this includes operation and maintenance (O&M) accounts, which cover readiness programs to train and equip our troops, as well as facility and base operations. The continuing resolution protects O&M by granting the military the flexibility to cut spending in less vital areas.

Because of this flexibility, the sequester’s impact on day-to-day base operations will be significantly softened. This does not remove Congress’s obligation to address the core problems that led to the sequester – namely, $16 trillion in national debt –but it does give the defense community breathing room in a difficult budget year.

My colleagues and I will continue to ensure that our military men and women have the resources they need to always be their best. In order to do so, it is critical that we repair our nation fiscal health so we do not find ourselves in this crisis again in the future.  The decisions won’t be easy, but they are necessary to ensure that we can continue to support the critical mission of our nation’s military and ensure that American remains the greatest nation.