February 14, 2013

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Susan Collins (R-ME) spoke on the Senate floor yesterday evening to once again call for immediate action to avoid the automatic, across-the-board federal budget cuts scheduled to take place March 1. Shaheen and Collins spoke about the devastating impact these cuts would have on the United States economy, national security and defense programs.

"We are starting to see the very real and negative consequences of Congressional inaction on our national security and our economy alike as businesses across the nation begin to prepare for automatic budget cuts under sequestration," said Senator Shaheen. "We simply cannot risk putting our economic recovery in jeopardy with these indiscriminate cuts. I appreciate the leadership of Senator Collins in joining me to again reiterate the importance of addressing the sequester - and doing it now."

“Sequestration would cause great harm to America’s safety in a dangerous world by, for example, potentially shrinking our Naval fleet to an unprecedented low level.   The Pentagon could be forced to cut an additional 100,000 Army soldiers and another 18,000 Marines, more than double the cuts already planned for each service over the next five years,” said Senator Collins.  “Just as devastating would be the effect of sequestration on our economy.   The defense industry directly employs some 8,500 hard-working, highly skilled men and women in Maine with an annual payroll topping $550 million.  I want to thank Senator Shaheen for caring so much about this issue.  We are committed to seeking pragmatic solutions through compromise and to avoiding this devastation of our economy and our national security.”

According to a study by the Congressional Budget Office, the United States stands to lose as many as 1.4 million jobs if the sequester goes into effect.

Shaheen and Collins sent a letter to Senate leadership last week calling for a balanced, bipartisan deficit reduction solution that protects jobs and national security interests. The New England senators lambasted Congress’ inaction in the present lead up to budget sequestration which could enact nearly $1.2 trillion in defense and non-defense spending within the federal budget. They also highlighted the severe ramifications for many critical defense facilities, including the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.

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