Chamber, County Council urge Congress to revoke ‘sequestration’

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Lowcountry residents are urged to contact South Carolina’s Congressional delegation to encourage a bipartisan solution to the dismantling of America’s military by the “poison pill” of sequestration, Beaufort County Council and the Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce Military Enhancement Committee agree.
Monday evening, Beaufort County Council unanimously approved a resolution opposing sequestration. The resolution encourages residents to tell members of Congress to find a better way to balance the federal budget.
Residents can visit www.beaufortmec.com to find a complete list of SC Congressional emails, key points and sample letters regarding the potential defense cuts. Beaufort and Port Royal’s three military installations inject more than $1.2 billion annually to Beaufort County’s economy. An estimated 50 percent of northern Beaufort County tourism is military-related — another $300 million.
Also, $70-plus million of new construction is under way at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, part of a planned $350 million upgrade to accommodate five squadrons of F-35 Joint Strike Fighters destined for the air station.
Those dollars ripple through the local economy, helping support barber shops, restaurants, doctors’ offices and stores, said Blakely Williams, president of the Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce.
As a result of the failure of the Super Committee to reach agreement on budget reduction measures, the Congress enacted a “sequestration” process to begin Jan. 1, 2013, which will cut approximately $600 billion from the Department of Defense over the next 10 years — on top of the agreed-to Defense Department reduction of about $500 billion.
Worse still, the sequestration cuts are across-the-board, affecting every element of the military, said Col. Jack Snider, vice-chairman of the Military Enhancement Committee and a former F/A-18 pilot and commanding officer of Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort.
“The answer to all this is for we the people to make our members of Congress do the right thing,” he said. “They need to work this out, they need to find a solution that uses a surgeon’s scalpel to reduce spending in a precise and appropriate manner. Sequestration is using a bomb that damages everything, and Beaufort’s three military installations would be heavily damaged.”
Beaufort leaders have met in recent days to craft a strategy to galvanize support for a continued strong military — one that reduces spending in a controlled and precise manner.