McKeon: Sequestration Will Hit

After countless hearings and proposed fixes and backroom horse-trading attempts that haven’t taken root, the budget sequester is likely unavoidable at this point, said House Armed Services Committee Chairman Rep. Buck McKeon (R-Calif.). “I think it’s going to happen,” McKeon told reporters in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 15. “I think we’ve locked ourselves into positions we can’t seem to get away from. I think we’ll be forced into it,” he added. The sequester will take effect on March 1, unless Congress acts to prevent it. McKeon argued that defense spending has been serving as a bill payer already, and he’s not prepared to accept any deal that cuts even more out of the Pentagon’s future years defense program. “For the last three years [the service Chiefs] have been under constant upheaval trying to plan and function,” said McKeon. First came the Pentagon’s self-imposed efficiency initiative, followed by a strategy change, he said. “And now, they get sequestration, which everyone understood wouldn’t happen,” said McKeon. The only way out, he added, is when these spending cuts begin to hit, not just in defense but in education and local government accounts, and “the temperature rises” for lawmakers from their constituents.