COLUMN: President's Failed Policies Place Our National Security at Risk
Over the last three and a half years, our country has watched as President Obama's failed policies have not provided the hope and change promised when he was sworn into office. Our national debt has reached a threatening $16 trillion. American families continue to struggle to independently provide for their families and median household income has declined 4.8 percent since June 2009. College tuitions remain subject to rapid increases, hindering our youth from furthering their education. Although these hardships are the most relevant in our lives, one constant factor remains: without a strong national defense capable of protecting our freedoms, America will not be given the ability to successfully recover from this economic recession. One need look no further than Israel to see how an economy thrives during periods of peace and security, but suffers during periods of insecurity and violence.
In order to keep the American people safe, our country must maintain the strongest and most efficient military presence in the world. Unfortunately, President Obama does not believe in this approach. Throughout his time in the White House, President Obama has practiced a foreign policy strategy that has endangered our national security and placed America's safety at risk. Even as we have seen the security situation in North Africa and the Middle East devolve into anarchy and civil war, the Administration has continued calling for reducing the Army by 80,000 soldiers and the Marine Corps by 20,000.
In July 2011, Congress passed the Budget Control Act, legislation designed to increase our national debt ceiling while reducing our national debt by $1.5 trillion over the next ten years. This legislation, agreed upon by the White House and leadership in both Houses of Congress, called for a "super committee" to determine what areas of government would be reduced to achieve the $1.5 trillion in debt reduction. The super committee failed to agree and thus triggered automatic cuts known as sequestration. Sequestration requires a $600 billion cut to the Department of Defense, which will be implemented effective January 2, 2013. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has warned that such a drastic decrease will result in the smallest Navy since 1916, the smallest Army and Marine Corps since 1939, and the smallest Air Force since it was founded. If these cuts initiated by President Obama are fully implemented, it will be impossible for our military to adequately protect our country from foreign threats.
House Republicans are aware of the devastating impacts sequestration will have on our national security and our fragile economy. A recent study projects 2.14 million jobs are at stake if the sequester is fully implemented. States with large military presences, such as Virginia, North Carolina, and California, are expected to suffer the most. As a result, the House has passed five pieces of legislation to address or replace sequestration with common sense reforms. Unfortunately, Majority Leader Harry Reid and his colleagues in the Senate have stalled on our efforts and failed to consider these bills.
To make matters worse, the President has decided to play party politics rather than encourage the Senate to address the issue and find a solution. A few weeks ago, the Administration blatantly acted in an illegal manner to limit the number of pink slips defense contractors would issue before the election. The Office of Management and Budget issued a memorandum to these companies stating that if they did not abide by the WARN Act, a law requiring large companies to issue notification 60 days before a major layoff, the federal government would pay the legal fees incurred. This unbelievable abuse of executive power further supports the fact that the President and his Administration do not view our national security as a top priority, while using taxpayers as a limitless source to cover political maneuvering.
Last month, on the eleventh anniversary of September 11, 2001, our nation mourned the deaths of United States Ambassador Chris Stevens and three Foreign Service agents who were brutally murdered in a horrific attack in Benghazi, Libya. This event marks the first time an American Ambassador has been killed defending American values since 1979, under the failed leadership of President Jimmy Carter. To make matters worse, the Administration took no responsibility for the lack of security in Libya; instead, they blamed a clip of a movie on the Internet. They sent U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice to appear on various Sunday morning news shows to tell the American public that all this happened because of a video.
Nearly a month later, we find out that this was a blatant misrepresentation. However, the Administration again takes no responsibility, instead placing the blame on the intelligence community for giving them bad information. They blame the people who have dedicated their lives to keeping America safe. They blame the intelligence community even though it is known that Under Secretary of State for Management, Patrick Kennedy, told Congressional staff on September 13 that, because of the extensive nature of the attack and the proliferation of small and medium weapons, his opinion was that the attack was planned.
North Africa and the Middle East are currently experiencing very volatile conditions. There is the possibility of widespread conflict throughout the region that could adversely affect civilian populations as well as the economic interests of countries around the world. This is no time to cut defense. This is no time to allow sequestration to go into affect. Over the past decade, we have created a strong military and intelligence community that protects the life and well-being of every American citizen. Now is no time to cut their budgets and weaken our National Security. The Obama Administration is fulfilling the misguided beliefs of our enemies that America and Israel have the watch, but they have the time. The only policy that works was proven by Ronald Reagan: Peace through Strength.