The United States military base at Pearl Harbor will be made less secure as a result of Washington's failure to avoid across-the-board sequestration budget cuts, Democratic Gov. Neil Abercrombie of Hawaii warned Saturday.
"The plain fact is that will undermine our capacity for readiness at Pearl Harbor," Abercrombie said, referring to the base that was attacked by Japanese military forces in 1941 and the resulting deaths of 2,400 Americans. "Now if that doesn't symbolize for the nation that far from overstating it, it is zeroing in on a graphic example of what happens when we fail to meet our responsibilities congressionally, I don't know what does."
Speaking at the annual Winter Meeting of the National Governors Association in Washington, D.C., Abercrombie said that the $487 billion reduction in Pentagon spending will have an impact on 19,000 civilian employees who work with the United States Pacific Command. The budget reduction, he said, would cut four workdays from each employee.
For weeks, Democrats and Republicans have issued dire warnings about the potential impact of the sequester—a budget measure that will slash $1.2 trillion from federal spending over 10 years, beginning March 1. President Barack Obama last week declared that it would reduce the effectiveness of first responders and health care providers across the country. Abercrombie argued that Obama was understating what could happen if Congress fails to find an alternative to the sequester next week.
"The question about whether this is being overstated is rhetorically, I think, a disservice to what the realities are in terms of everyday lives," Abercrombie said.
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