The partisan bickering over sequestration, the U.S. policy under which federal spending would be slashed by $1.2 trillion over 10 years absent a congressional deficit reduction deal, reached fever pitch during a hearing Aug. 1, as Republican lawmakers and White House officials traded charges over responsibility for the looming disaster. Clearly the desire to loudly bemoan sequestration, which by all accounts would devastate the aerospace industry, particularly since the Pentagon would absorb half of the cuts, far outweighs Congress’ willingness to do anything about it.
Indeed, as Congress adjourned for August recess, there was no indication that any compromise was in the works; it’s the only thing Democrats and Republicans can agree on these days.
Lawmakers are demanding plans from government agencies, including the U.S. Department of Defense, on how they would implement the sequestration cuts. Pentagon and other agency officials, while agreeing that the cuts would force widespread layoffs in government and industry, have not been forthcoming with specifics, arguing that preparing for sequestration would divert scarce resources from critical activities including military readiness.
The information lawmakers say they are seeking in theory could help those most directly affected by the sequestration cuts, but that’s a diversion. The focus should be on preventing sequestration, something that’s entirely in the hands of Congress. Should budgetary Armageddon become impossible to avert as the two parties continue to squabble and jockey for political advantage in this election year, the aerospace industry, as well as the public, should harbor no doubt as to where the blame lies.