Campaign 2010

Feb 26, 2013

Congressman Southerland At Odds With Florida Republicans Over Sequester

In another sign of the growing rift between state and congressional Republicans, today Republican Senate President Don Gaetz contradicted Republican Congressman Steve Southerland’s claim that the sequester was “hardly draconian” –  telling the Miami Herald editorial board that his Panhandle constituents are “already feeling the pinch” from these draconian cuts.

 

Congressman Southerland refused to even acknowledge the pain caused by the sequester, despite devastating implications for his constituents. Florida and the community surrounding Tyndall Air Force Base in Panama City could lose thousands of jobs if the sequester goes forward, causing a ripple effect through northern Florida’s economy which would hurt everyone from “contractors to convenience stores.”

 

Congressman Steve Southerland said he’d change Washington, but all he’s done is gone Washington – and now Congressman Southerland is even at odds with Florida Republicans like Don Gaetz,” said David Bergstein of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. “These draconian cuts will have a devastating impact on the Panhandle and will cost Florida thousands of jobs, but Congressman Steve Southerland would rather protect tax breaks for millionaires and corporations that ship jobs overseas instead of acknowledging the pain these cuts will cause to his district.”  

 

BACKGROUND

Senate President Don Gaetz on the Sequester:  “Florida Senate President Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, told The Herald Editorial Board on Monday that his Panhandle district, which includes five military installations, is already feeling the pinch because so many civilian workers don’t know what’s in store for them and have reined in discretionary spending.” [Miami Herald, 2/25/13]

Congressman Steve Southerland on the Sequester: “Hardly Draconian”   “We’re talking about a 2 percent cut in the budget. So last year we spent almost 3.5 trillion dollars, and we’re talking about a two percent cut. Hardly draconian.” [WMBB, 2/22/13]

Florida’s Bases Have a $60 Billion Economic Impact and Contribute 686,000 Jobs. “If tourism is the fuel that powers Florida’s economic engine, the military is the motor oil that keeps things running smoothly. The state’s 20 military installations provide a $60 billion economic impact and contribute 686,000 jobs.” [News Herald, 11/04/12]

Thousands of Military Employees in Florida Face a 20 Percent Pay Cut and  Bases Could Have Millions Less for Base Projects. “Thousands of civilians who work at military installations across Florida will face temporary pay cuts up to 20 percent unless Congress acts to stop automatic budget cuts set to take effect March 1 […] That includes 12,145 Air Force employees and 3,299 Army employees. Florida is home to 12,000 civilian Navy employees and most could be subject to the cuts as well, according to the Navy. The pay cuts would take the form of furloughs, most totaling 22 days spread over the next several months […] The Pentagon’s plan also calls for deferring millions of dollars in planned construction and modernization projects at military bases around the nation and overseas. In Florida, it means the Air Force would have $22.6 million less to upgrade facilities and $14.8 million less for new construction. It also means the Army would have $145 million less to modernize its bases in the state.” [Gannett, 2/20/13]

Sequestration Would “Affect Everyone from Contractors to Convenience Stores,” But the Panhandle Would Feel the “Brunt.”“But the deepest cuts of the so-called sequestration are planned for Department of Defense funding, which could be a major blow for Florida, dotted as it is with military bases. The state’s Panhandle and the area from Jacksonville to the Space Coast could feel the brunt of this reduction, which would affect everyone from contractors to convenience stores.” [Palm Beach Post, 12/08/12]

Florida Could Lose Over 40,000 Jobs From Defense Cuts, While “Major Player” in 2nd District is Already Predicting Thousands of Job Losses. A 2012 George Mason University study estimated that Florida could lose 41,905 Jobs from sequestration defense cuts alone. In November, “Lockheed Martin said it might have to slash 10,000 jobs if the Defense Department cuts are enacted in January, but it is unknown whether the cuts would affect jobs in Bay County […] Lockheed is a major player regarding the economic impact on the community with field offices at Tyndall Air Force Base and in Panama City.” [George Mason University, 7/17/12; News Herald, 11/17/12]