“I’ve spent many a sleepless night over the last six months or so thinking about it.”
The defense industry’s anxieties are heightened by the lack of a clear plan for cuts: The Pentagon intends to make across-the-board cuts, but it’s not clear how that would play out.
“Some people will get lucky and will support programs that aren’t hurt that bad, and some people will be devastated,” Lisota said.
Defense companies won’t be the only ones hurt by cuts.
“It isn’t just direct military expenses. It’s buying homes or renting apartments or purchasing cars or whatever,” Hornbeck said.
Kaine and Allen have been battling over the sequester on two separate fronts — who is responsible for our current budgetary predicament and who has the best plan to avert the cuts.
On the first point, Allen’s case is straightforward: From the start, he opposed last year’s budget deal that created the supercommittee and mandated massive spending cuts if the panel failed to reach agreement. Kaine backed the deal then and said in a July 21 debate in Hot Springs that the deal was “the right thing to do” — a quote that has since appeared frequently in anti-Kaine television ads.
Kaine counters that the budget deal he supported was backed by every Republican congressional leader as well as Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R).
And although Kaine endorsed the original agreement, he has also said that he is opposed to the possibility of indiscriminate de
fense cuts and that the Pentagon
needs a clear road map for how to implement the reductions.
“I do have a plan: It’s a compromise, and it’s specific,” Kaine said in a Sept. 20 debate in McLean, “unlike anything I heard” from Allen on the subject.
He would allow Bush-era tax cuts to expire on income over $500,000 and remove tax breaks for oil and gas companies. He would also allow Medicare to negotiate with prescription drug companies for bulk discounts. Those three steps, Kaine said, would get Congress roughly three-quarters of the way toward the $1 trillion in cuts that need to be averted.
At the McLean debate, Allen said he would prevent the defense cuts by moving to “repeal and replace Obamacare” (although such a move would not save money, according to the Congressional Budget Office) and look for “redundancy in government.”
Allen also proposed to “unleash American energy resources,” bringing royalties to the federal government from increased oil and gas drilling, and raise revenue by closing unspecified tax loopholes.
And Allen praised House Republicans for passing a measure that would avert the defense cuts — although he has declined to clearly endorse the House bill, which would cut domestic programs more deeply — while criticizing the Democratic-controlled Senate.