Scott fears impact of military cuts

WARNER ROBINS -- Automatic spending cuts that would significantly impact the military are a potential “train wreck” waiting to happen, 8th District U.S. Rep. Austin Scott told a group of retired federal employees Wednesday.

The cuts, called sequestration, are set to take place in January unless Congress comes to an agreement on cutting $1.2 trillion over 10 years. If Congress fails, automatic cuts would take place with almost half of that hitting the military.

“I’m not telling you we can bring this budget in balance without any pain, but I think sequestration is probably the most painful way to do it,” Scott said.

He is hopeful that after the November election, Congress will be able to get together and agree on a plan to prevent sequestration. However, he said agency heads need to be prepared for sequestration.

“Your agencies have got to be making plans for these cuts now,” he said. “If they are not making plans for them now, then we are going to have a train wreck in January.”

He made the comments at a meeting of the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association in Warner Robins. His talk focused almost entirely on the budget, the annual deficit and the $16 trillion national debt. Scott, who formerly served in the Georgia General Assembly, said he is convinced the key to erasing the deficit is a balanced budget amendment.

He said Georgia’s balanced budget amendment is the reason Democrats and Republicans are able to come together each year to pass a balanced budget.

“I honestly believe that the key to the future of this country is to force Congress by an amendment to the Constitution to work together to balance this thing,” he said.

Scott said to balance the budget, Congress will have to look at entitlement programs, which make up 62 percent of federal spending. He said he supports changing the Medicare formula to incrementally raise the age in which people would become eligible.

“If we don’t make those changes to the system, it won’t be there for my generation anyway,” he said. “It’s simple math when you get right down to it.”

To contact writer Wayne Crenshaw, call 256-9725.