Virginia Lawmakers Weigh In: Sequestration & Syria

Aug 28, 2013

Credit AFP Getty Images via NPR

Potential  U.S. military engagement in Syria is sparking a debate among the region’s lawmakers over whether sequestration is impacting the U.S. military’s ability to respond to conflicts abroad.

This spring one third of U-S Air Force fighter jets, bombers and other air crafts were grounded because of across the board budget cuts. They’re back up and flying, but if the U-S gets involved in a prolonged military engagement with Syria, Virginia Democratic Congressman Gerry Connolly says those budget cuts will become evident.

“Certainly sequestration is a factor because both the readiness and deployments of military forces are affected by sequestration and there some on Congress who want to keep their heads in the sand about that because they’re ideologically committed to spending cuts no matter where, no matter for what.”
Connolly says he’s hoping a side effect of the situation in Syria will be Congress revisiting sequestration. But Virginia Republican Scott Rigell says Connolly and others are using unrest in the Middle East to play politics.

“The long term damage to our military is very, very serious, but in the short term, does the president have every full capability? The answer to that is absolutely.”

Lawmakers in the region on both sides of the aisle agree the White House needs to provide more details to Congress about last week's alleged chemical weapon strike reported to have killed more than one thousand Syrians.