State News

GOP senators decry defense cuts in Fayetteville visit

Posted July 30, 2012 4:01 a.m. EDT
Updated July 30, 2012 6:59 p.m. EDT

— A trio of Republican senators visited Fayetteville Monday to make the case for protecting military spending from more than $1 trillion in budget cuts that will slash both domestic and defense programs.

Sens. John McCain of Arizona, Lindsay Graham of South Carolina and Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, all members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, pushed people to press their congressional representatives for a resolution to the so-called sequestration cuts.

The 10-year, $1 trillion cuts to domestic and military programs will automatically take affect in January unless Congress acts to avoid them. The automatic cuts were intended to pressure a bipartisan congressional supercommittee to create a plan to cut the national deficit last year, but lawmakers failed to do so.

"It's not too complicated, my friends. Let's have the members of Congress and the president of the United States sit down together and work this out," McCain said. "(We need to) avert this terrible calamity that, I think, could impact our national defense for years."

A U.S. Senate committee report states that North Carolina would lose health screenings, education, senior nutrition, veteran's services and employment help worth more than $100 million if the sequestration cuts occur.

"You would be devastated," Graham told an audience at Fayetteville Technical Community College. "It would be like every major employer in my home state closing down at one time or cutting their business in half."

The three senators also plan to make stops in Florida, Virginia and New Hampshire. Like North Carolina, all three are considered battleground states in the November presidential election.