MacDill would lose millions, will Congress stop sequestration?

7:27 AM, Feb 21, 2013   |    comments
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A U.S. Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker jet flies over MacDill Air Force Base in this Air Force photo.



Tampa, Florida -- In Tampa Bay, we look at the impacts of the mandatory government spending cuts from "sequestration" and we see that they'll sting.

Then we look at Washington, and we see Congress on a break, not frantically working to stop it.

Here's the reality. There is a very good chance Congress won't take action in the next week. They won't avoid the automatic budget cuts of sequestration.

Why not? Here are the top reasons, some of which were suggested by Government Sales Specialists, a firm that helps companies do business with the government.

Compromise is so rare in Congress today

This whole situation was created as a way for Congress in 2011 to kick the can of budget cuts further down the road. They couldn't make a deal back then, and doing it now is just as unlikely.

The sequestration deadline isn't a firm one

A lot of the damage of the sequester cuts can be undone if a deal is worked out even several months after March 1st, when the automatic cuts would start to kick in.

Cuts from sequestration mean real savings

A lot of the "cuts" we hear Washington talk about are really just new spending that is canceled before it starts. These cuts would be an actual move toward a balanced budget, even if it's not a huge move.

America is ok with cuts to the military budget

My math puts the cuts from sequestration at around nine percent of the military's total budget. (For a breakdown of the Defense Department's plans to cut its spending, see these three stories.)

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has beat the drum over and over, saying this will hurt national security.

MacDill Air Force Base in South Tampa would see a likely loss of pay for civilians and delayed construction adding up to more than $20 million.

But even with those cuts, the U.S. will still be spending 60 percent more on the military than in 2001, and that doesn't include the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In fact, surveys show most of the public would actually like deeper cuts into military spending.

Last year, a think tank asked folks which of these ways would be the best to balance the federal budget:
- raising taxes
- cutting military spending
- cutting other parts of the government

Military spending got nearly two-thirds of the vote, with support from both Republicans and Democrats.

America does spend by far the most of any nation on our military -- more than the next twelve countries combined.

All of these factors and other political calculations will come together as we watch Congress over the coming week.

Grayson Kamm, 10 News

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