House lawmakers: Sequester hurting Army readiness

A bipartisan pair of House lawmakers recently warned their colleagues about the negative toll sequester will have on the U.S. Army’s readiness unless lawmakers reverse the looming budget cuts.

"Inaction will put us further down the path of undermining our national security, local economies, and the livelihoods of military families who have sacrificed so much over the last thirteen years,” Reps. Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardFive takeaways from the Democratic debate As Buttigieg rises, Biden is still the target Gabbard, Buttigieg battle over use of military in Mexico MORE (D-Hawaii) and Martha RobyMartha Dubina RobyOvernight Defense — Presented by Boeing — Pence says Turkey agrees to ceasefire | Senators vow to move forward with Turkey sanctions | Mulvaney walks back comments tying Ukraine aid to 2016 probe Here are the lawmakers who aren't seeking reelection in 2020 Pelosi: GOP retirements indicate they'll be in the minority, with Democrat in the White House MORE (R-Ala.) wrote Friday in a “Dear Colleague” letter to all House members.

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“We believe alleviating the impact of sequestration on the military must be a top priority of the 114th Congress, and that there is the will within the Congress to do so,” they added.

Gabbarb, an Iraq war veteran, serves on the House Armed Services Committee, while Roby sits on the House Appropriations Committee. The pair included the findings from a Army study that predicted the service’s end strength will fall from 490,000 this October to 420,000 by 2019 if the sequester is not rolled back.

The forced drawdown would likely impact up to 30 Army installations across the country, including Fort Rucker in Alabama and Schofield Barracks in Hawaii.

The missive comes as President Obama and lawmakers from both sides of the aisle are making a renewed push to do away with the budget cuts.

Yet despite the recent rhetoric, no solution has been offered.

Gabbard and Roby rattled off a list of ongoing security challenges that did not exist when the budget device was enacted, including the emergence of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, the military mission fighting Ebola in Africa and Russia’s incursions into Ukraine.

“Considering the national security threats that we face today and the uncertain threats we will likely face tomorrow, Congress should not allow a dramatic reduction in the Army’s end strength or a similar reduction in the capabilities of the other service branches,” the pair told their colleagues.

"The world we face today is very different from the one we faced two years ago," they added.