Pelosi, in San Diego, Sounds Alarm on Navy Sequestration

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaks while Scott Peters (right), Juan Vargas and Susan Davis look on. In the background is the dock landing ship USS Comstock. Photo by Chris Jennewein

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and the three Democratic members of Congress representing San Diego said Monday that scheduled budget cuts would undermine the Navy and put the nation at risk.

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“No one wants to see the impact that sequestration would have on our military,” said Pelosi, who was visiting Naval Base San Diego on a tour of eight bases throughout the world. “We can’t go down that path.”

Sequestration refers to automatic budget cuts enacted by Congress in 2013 that would hit the military especially hard, cutting spending by nearly half a trillion dollars over eight years. The cuts have been championed by Republicans seeking to reduce government spending.

Pelosi and Reps. Susan Davis, Scott Peters and Juan Vargas spoke with reporters after meeting with Vice Adm. Tom Rowden for a briefing on how the Navy prepares crews, families and equipment for deployment.

Vargas said top naval officers tell him that sequestration is what keeps them awake at night. If the cuts are not reversed, Peters added, it “will put our nation at risk.”

The four were scheduled to tour the littoral combat ship USS Coronado, a futuristic trimaran-hull vessel designed to fight in waters close to shore. The military plans to build 50 of the ships in two variants, and Davis said the program is “being protected in many ways. We have these ships coming on line.”

Peters and Davis, along with Rep. Duncan Hunter, a Republican who was not present, are members of the influential House Armed Services Committee.

Pelosi, who represents San Francisco, said California with its many military bases and military contractors has a special appreciation for the importance for the military. “In California, we are a state of national security,” she said.

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