Sen. Orrock Moderates Panel on Federal Sequestration and U.S. Defense Spending

ATLANTA (August 31, 2012) – Sen. Nan Orrock (D-Atlanta) moderated a panel on budget sequestration and our national spending priorities at Georgia Institute of Technology attended by more than 60 people.  Col. Richard L. Klass (ret)., U.S. Air Force, and Rep. Scott Holcomb (D-Atlanta), an Army veteran and a member of the Defense and Veterans Affairs Committee of the Georgia House of Representatives, brought a military perspective on the impact of sequestration cuts to Pentagon spending and responded to recent town hall meetings held in Georgia that only addressed defense cuts.

Under the 2011 Budget Control Act, deep automatic budget cuts for all discretionary programs, also known as sequestration, are scheduled to take effect on January 2, 2013, if Congress fails to agree on a balanced approach to budget decisions. Budget cuts will fall across-the-board on federal investments serving Georgia, but so far emphasis has only been focused on Pentagon budget cuts.  In fact, some have suggested exempting the Pentagon from these cuts altogether. The Pentagon budget that makes up 56% of federal discretionary spending has grown since 1998. In contrast, the varied programs that make up non-defense discretionary programs have smaller pieces of the budget pie that have already been deeply cut.

“We have started the conversation on an issue that will impact not only every Georgian, but every citizen in the country,” said Sen. Orrock.  “The panel provided important policy insight from a military perspective to forecast what our state and nation will face with these automatic budget cuts.  The reality is harsh as the recovery from the recession remains sluggish and federal funding to cash-strapped states decreases.  Our goal must be to safeguard public services for all without jeopardizing national security.  This is the message to take to Georgia’s Congressional delegation.”

Rep. Scott Holcomb and Col. Klass emphasized that fiscal uncertainty and political brinksmanship are unhealthy for the nation’s and Georgia’s still-fragile economies. “Sequestration is a perfect example of government not working properly,” said Rep. Holcomb. “Sequester cuts were never supposed to happen.”

Dr. Adam N. Stulberg, associate professor at Georgia Institute of Technology and co-director of the Center for International Strategy, Technology, and Policy (CISTP) hosted the panel.  The event was sponsored by Women’s Action for New Directions (WAND) and its Women Legislators’ Lobby, Georgia WAND, Truman National Security Project, and the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation.

For Immediate Release:
August 31, 2012

For Information Contact:
Natalie Dale, Director
Kate Greer, Broadcast Specialist