May 14, 2015

Hirono On NDAA: I Support Fair, Responsible, Balanced Approaches To End Sequester, Not Budget Gimmicks

NDAA Passed By The Committee Provides Defense Department With Sequester Relief While Domestic Side Continues To Bear The Full Brunt Of Harmful Sequester Cuts

WASHINGTON , D.C. – Senator Mazie K. Hirono, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, voted today in committee to oppose the Fiscal Year 2016 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) as a statement of principle against Washington’s sequester budget gimmicks:

“Today I reluctantly voted against the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) in the Senate Armed Services Committee. In spite of all the important provisions in the bill which I support, it did nothing to put our country on a rational budget path, away from the arbitrary, harmful, across the board cuts imposed by sequester.

“There is no question that the arbitrary cuts imposed by sequester have been harmful to our military as well as our domestic programs and priorities. The answer to this dilemma is to lift the mindless cuts across the board, recognizing that our country’s strength lies in both a strong military and a strong economy.

“Unfortunately, this bill does not do that. Instead, it uses Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) funding like a slush fund to provide the Defense Department with sequester relief while the domestic side of the equation continues to bear the full brunt of the cuts. Using OCO in this way sets up the dangerous precedent of adding more and more to this fund every year, outside of the base budget, and therefore outside of normal oversight and accountability at the Pentagon.

“I will continue to support eliminating the sequester because the cuts hurt our working people, our middle class families, our military, our national security, and our businesses large and small. I support fair, responsible, balanced approaches to end sequester, not budget gimmicks, like resorting to OCO, to achieve our goal.”