When Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) writes, I read because he could become our next President. While Hillary Clinton might be ready if she is tanned and rested, Mark Warner remains my favorite because he is a collaborator and consensus builder.
Senator Warner is worried about his state of Virginia because here we will take the brunt of sequester cuts. He will take a share of the blame if he doesn’t fight vigorously to restore what he believes should not be cut arbitrarily. Arbitrary cutting is what is wrong with sequester and blame for that goes right to the Republican House of Representatives, Speaker Boehner, and renegade Tea Party people.
Arbitrary cuts have no place in national security, the Department of Defense in particular. Cutting defense cuts muscle and creates unnecessary unemployment.
So his message is simple: he is fighting for Virginia and we are not out of the woods.
I wanted to take just a moment to give you an update on our successful efforts so far to try to protect Virginians from the very worst of the planned sequester spending cuts.
The Virginia congressional delegation has been working together, across the aisle and on both sides of Capitol Hill, to present strong arguments against these across-the-board cuts. I am pleased to report that we have seen some success in holding off many of the most damaging impacts.
During several recent conversations with top Pentagon officials, including Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, I have gotten assurances that the Pentagon is trying to use its discretionary spending authority to minimize the potential impact of civilian furloughs.
Already, Secretary Hagel has confirmed that proposed furloughs of 22 days have been reduced to no more than 14 days. Late last week, I led members of the Virginia delegation in sending a follow-up letter which explicitly urges Secretary Hagel to take whatever action he deems necessary to reduce the impact of potential civilian furloughs even further, and we remain hopeful you will see a further reduction.
Virginia is not out of the woods yet, and employees in several non-mlitary federal agencies, including the FAA, are experiencing across-the-board spending cuts and furloughs.
I want you to know I continue working with my Virginia colleagues to do all I can to minimize the impact of these cuts on your family and your community–and we’ll keep you posted on the latest.
Via Mark Warner