BY CONGRESSWOMAN COLLEEN HANABUSA– It is very nice to be home in Hawaii this week, meeting with constituents and enjoying some time with my family and friends.
Before leaving Washington, I voted against a continuing resolution to fund the government through the remainder of the fiscal year. The bill is bad for Hawaii and our country.
My opposition to the measure was simple, we kept spending at 2011 levels through the end of the fiscal year, but we failed to address sequestration. We left in place a series of indiscriminate budget cuts totaling $85 billion over the next six months.
This dramatic reduction will slowly eliminate critical government programs and defund vital operations and services.
The biggest hit Hawaii faces could come through a dramatic reduction in defense spending as the continuing resolution awaiting the President’s signature requires the Department of Defense to come up with $46 billion in cuts by September 30.
I worked hard with my colleagues on the House Armed Services Committee to create provisions in the spending agreement to protect our military, an important sector of Hawaii’s economy that is at the forefront of the our nation’s defensive pivot to the Asia Pacific.
On April 5, the Department of Defense will send furlough notices to 700,000 civilian defense workers nationwide, including 20,000 in Hawaii.
The proposed 22 furlough days would result in $138 million in lost compensation and each worker faces an average reduction of $7,000 in wages over the last five months of the fiscal year.
We are asking more from our military than ever before and our brave men and women in uniform are assuming diplomatic and humanitarian responsibilities as they work to protect America while enabling trade and economic growth.
Senator Inouye long understood Hawaii’s importance as a military outpost and President Obama has repeatedly stated that conditions in the Asia-Pacific region will determine whether this century is defined by fighting or peace and cooperation.
The people of Hawaii elected me to make tough decisions in the best interests of our state and nation. I am not here to abandon debates and sanction what I believe to be a bad deal for our state and country.
Real solutions are possible, as I demonstrated in the case of rescinding the BAE stop-work order at Schofield, and during my 12 years in the Hawaii State Senate, where we routinely dealt with acrimonious debate surrounding difficult decisions about how to pay for the services that our constituents expect us to provide.
I will continue to work in a bipartisan fashion with my colleagues to foil the destructive plan laid out by sequestration.
The people of Hawaii and this country demand that we do our job and I promise to protect and improve our way of life.
Mahalo for your continued support.