Rick Scott Tells Obama, Congress to ‘Stop Playing Chicken’ on Sequestration
Around the State
Gov. Rick Scott voiced his deep concern Monday about the sequestration cuts that are set to begin Friday, calling the stalemate on negotiations in Washington, D.C., an “elementary school game of ‘chicken.’”
“Sequestration means the Obama administration and Congress failed to do their job to manage the budget,” Scott said. “As thousands of Floridians lose their jobs, the Obama administration and Congress are getting paid for not doing theirs. That’s just wrong.”
Florida is one of the leading states for the defense industry in the nation, with three unified combatant commands, 20 major Air Force and Navy installations, and annually contributes more than $73.4 billion to the economy. The state also is home to more than 750,000 defense-industry jobs.
“The impacts on Florida’s military installations and defense industries will be severe under the meat hammer of sequestration,” Scott said. "Our immediate concerns include dramatic reductions to our National Guard, which threaten our ability to respond to wildfires this spring and hurricanes this summer. Now is the time for leadership. It is critical for all national leaders to find a way forward that will not have unwarranted, unnecessary impacts on both our economic and our national security.”
Meanwhile, as President Barack Obama is slated to visit a military community in Virginia Tuesday, House Republican leaders blasted the president for his campaign tactics and urged him to stay in D.C. to figure out how to avert the cuts.
Answering questions from the media Monday, House Speaker John Boehner and other top GOP members said it was time for Obama to "stop campaigning" and work with Congress to stop the $85 billion in cuts that will take effect March 1.
The impact of the cuts to Florida’s defense industry is estimated to include 40,000 to 80,000 in job losses and the reduction of nearly $1 billion in defense spending across Florida. The Florida National Guard also estimates an annual impact of $27.2 million and nearly 1,000 employees furloughed for 20 percent of the remaining year. That would equal more than $7 million in lost wages.
With the nation’s top state leaders visiting D.C. this week for the National Governors Association (NGA) winter meeting, the talk quickly turned to sequestration, as the states’ head officials fear ultimately being the ones left to clean up the mess.
“I think there’s a lack of leadership, period," Republican Gov. Gary Herbert, of Utah, told Politico. "And there’s enough lack of leadership blame to go around. The president needs to step up with his proposals. [House] Speaker Boehner needs to come to the table with his proposals. And what’s happening with [Senate Majority Leader Harry] Reid? I mean, they haven’t done a budget there for four years.”
Meeting with the NGA at the White House Monday, Obama said it was time to do some governing.