WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, today cosponsored the Down Payment to Protect National Security Act of 2013 offered by Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH). Companion legislation has been offered in the U.S. House by House Armed Services Committee Chairman Howard "Buck" McKeon (R-CA).
The legislation would pay for the first year of sequestration by requiring a government-wide reduction in the number of federal employees by 10 percent through attrition. In addition, the legislation would freeze the pay for Members of Congress. These measures would deliver approximately $85 billion in savings to pay for sequestration for both defense and non-defense accounts in 2013. The bill also would provide transfer authority for the Department of Defense (DoD) under a continuing resolution consistent with the Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013.
"For 14 months we've called on the president to recognize the impact of sequestration and fulfill the campaign promise he made to Americans when he said sequestration ‘will not happen,'" said Inhofe. "Unfortunately, the President’s sequestration proposal earlier this week was light on substance. When I saw that his plan included tax increases and kept substantial cuts to defense, I knew this was a non-starter.
"I remain unconvinced that the president wants to solve sequestration, so I joined Sen. Ayotte and Chairman McKeon on a reasonable, common-sense solutionto meet the immediate challenges of sequestration for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2013. This is accomplished by creating $85 billion in savings through natural attrition in the federal workforce, and without ever touching defense cuts or hiking taxes. The bill would also provide flexibility within the defense budget by granting the Secretary of Defense the authority to allocate funding under the current continuing resolution.
"It's time the president puts political posturing aside and finally gets serious about working with Congress to find a lasting solution to sequestration. The men and women in uniform deserve nothing less."
The legislation was announced at a press conference on Wednesday, with opening remarks from HASC Chairman McKeon and SASC ranking member Inhofe, followed by Sen. Ayotte, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX), and Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH).