The country could face a second round of automatic budget cuts if Congress can’t agree on a spending plan by year’s end.
U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski said at hearing on Wednesday that the sequestration cuts already imposed on the Pentagon are throwing the military off its geostrategic goals.
“Mr. Chairman, I’m so concerned that in an effort to chase the dollars, in an effort to drive down the costs we’re putting our country, we are putting our national defense in jeopardy because decisions are being driven by sequestration and we’re not keeping our eye on the bigger picture,” Murkowski said.
The Alaska Republican said the Air Force’s recently shelved plan to move F-16s fighter jets out Eielson Air Force Base was an example of putting cost-cutting above defense strategy.
Among the unmet needs, Murkowski said, is new rescue helicopters for the Alaska Air National Guard.
Military service chiefs said last week that sequestration is forcing them to cut programs that will ultimately leave the country less prepared to counter global adversaries.
- A lawsuit filed in federal court this week seeks to remove the residency requirement for people gathering signatures for state ballot initiatives.
- For the second time in two years, a Skagway political figure has been ordered to pay a fine for incomplete financial disclosures. Assembly hopeful Dan Henry failed to disclose substantial debt on his candidate paperwork. He will still be able to run for office in the upcoming election.
- Administration officials have a mouthful of a name for it: the “capped hybrid head tax.” It's a flat 1.5 percent of wages and self-employment income, with a maximum of twice the value of that year's Alaska Permanent Fund dividend.
- A federal district court has sided with conservationists fighting to preserve the U.S. Forest Service's "roadless rule" that limits road building in national forests. Alaska conservationists opposed to expanded logging in Tongass National Forest hailed the ruling as a victory.