Ryan & House GOP: Automatic Budget Cuts Would ‘Decimate’ the Military

By Elizabeth Harrington | May 8, 2012 | 12:44 PM EDT

FILE -House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., on Capitol Hill on Feb. 14, 2011. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

(CNSNews.com) – House Republicans Tuesday pushed their proposal to avoid “the sequester” – or automatic cuts -- to the Pentagon budget.

The GOP members said the cuts would “decimate” national defense and asked “where’s the president” on resolving last year’s failed budget deal, Tuesday, on Capitol Hill.

“If there’s one thing that we have bipartisan agreement on, there’s one area where we agree with the president and the Secretary of Defense [Leon Panetta], it’s that this sequester will decimate our military at a time when our men and women are overseas fighting in a war, in a world that has become much more dangerous,” said House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), at a press conference following a Republican Conference meeting.

“The problem is, only the House Republicans are doing something about this,” he said.

“The president has not put out a plan to deal with this sequester.  The Senate has chosen again for three years in a row, not only not to pass a budget but to do nothing to deal with this sequester.”

If the player does not load, please check that you are running the latest version of Adobe Flash Player.

The House Budget Committee passed a measure 21-9 on Monday to avoid $78 billion in sequestered cuts to the Defense Budget, opting instead for over $200 billion in cuts to domestic spending, over 10 years.

“We’re leading.  We’re planning.  We’re showing specifics,” Ryan said.  “We’re showing the American people how if Congress does its job we can actually fix this fiscal process, this problem we have, and prevent this sequester from disproportionally decimating our military at a time when we're asking our men and women to sacrifice for our freedoms."

“We’re the only ones trying to provide solutions to the impending sequester, where’s the president on that?” added House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.).

“I’m sure the White House will speak out on our measure, well if the president who has in the past said he doesn’t support the imposition of the sequester, where is the White House on that?” he said.  “Let’s set aside the rancor and the differences, join us in making sure the sequester does not hit next year so that we do not suffer a serious hit to the Pentagon and our ability to defend ourselves.”

The sequestration comes as a result of last year’s super committee -- created by the Budget Control Act -- that failed to come to an agreement on a minimum of $1.2 trillion in spending cuts.

Panetta has called the automatic $500 billion in cuts, which will go into effect on Jan. 1 2013, “devastating” to the nation’s defense, and has criticized Congress for failing to act.

“I told the members of Congress, ‘Look, I’ve got men and women that put their heads, their lives on the line every day to protect this country,’” Panetta told crewmembers of USS Peleliu during a shipboard visit in March.

“’I’m just asking you to assume just a little bit of risk here to do what’s right for this country and to solve the problems that we face,’” he said.