Granger, Calvert concerned about sequestration as committee passes defense funding bill

U.S. Reps. Kay Granger (R-TX) and Ken Calvert (R-CA) voiced concerns this week with the recent approval by the U.S. House Appropriations Committee of the fiscal year 2020 defense funding measure.

“While the majority worked to include many of our priorities in this bill, it does not adequately address growing global threats and it is less than requested, halting the progress we have made in improving military readiness and setting us on an unsustainable path,” said Rep. Granger, the top Republican on the appropriations committee.

House appropriators on Tuesday passed an appropriations bill for the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2020 on a 30-22 vote. The bill would provide $690.2 billion total in new discretionary spending authority for the DOD, a $15.8 billion increase over FY 2019 but $8 billion below the president’s request.

Rep. Granger said Congress and the Trump administration must agree on a budget framework that will stop sequestration going into effect, creating $70 billion in cuts below current levels.

“That would devastate our military capabilities and weaken our ability to secure the homeland and assist our partners and allies around the world,” the congresswoman said, adding that she wants to work in a bipartisan way “to address these concerns and develop a fiscally responsible plan that prioritizes national security.”

Rep. Calvert, ranking member of the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee, agreed.

“Ultimately, I am greatly concerned that the committee is marking up this and other bills without an agreement on topline spending levels that the president will also support,” Rep. Calvert said. “The bill was crafted without acknowledging the reality that if we cannot reach agreement on a budget caps deal, we face sequestration in the coming year.”

If sequestration does happen, he added, the impacts on the United States military “would be dire.”

“We need all parties to come to the table now and make the tough but critical budget decisions necessary to protect our national security,” said Rep. Calvert.