STAUNTON -- Sen. Tim Kaine talked about ways to avoid billions of dollars worth of budget cuts with a WHSV reporter on Thursday during a stop in his defense tour around the state.
Those automatic cuts could happen under sequestration. Kaine said those cuts could affect the military's work in the Valley.
Kaine met members of the military at Staunton's National Guard armory on Thursday. He warned that looming automatic budget cuts could affect jobs. He wants to keep men and women in the military working.
“We've invested a lot in their training. If they decide, well, look, the commitment of the political class to our future is too uncertain, I'm going to do something else. Then, we lose leadership. We lose capacity,” said Kaine.
Kaine is assigned to the Senate armed services committee. He said budget cuts could mean less training, less maintenance and less readiness.
“We ought to have a national security strategy that drives budget decisions, rather than a budget that drives national security. Frankly, we don't even have a budget driving national security now. What we have is budgetary gimmicks and indecision driving national security.”
Brigade Commander John Epperly said the cuts could affect Staunton.
“He knows the brigade,” said Epperly, “It means a lot for us to have him on the Senate armed services committee and as U.S. senator, because he is in a great position to tell our story and to help get our needs met and to ensure that we remain a ready and relevant force long into the future.”
Virginia Congressman Bob Goodlatte wants to lower the deficit. He gave WHSV a statement saying: “Our nation is broke, and getting us back on a responsible fiscal path will take real spending reductions and true economic growth.”
Kaine wants enough money to keep the military strong, without sacrificing military readiness.
“If we don't do the training that we have scheduled, or if we don't maintain it at optimal levels, we're just not as ready if the unexpected happens,” said Kaine.
Kaine's stop in Staunton was one of his last stops in the tour. He went to the Quantico Marine Corps base to end the tour. He said he scheduled the tour before these sequestration talks even started.
If a deal isn't reached by March 1, there will be $85 billion in federal budget cuts.Those cuts will take away 9 percent of non-defense spending and 13 percent of the Pentagon's budget.
It will also affect the FBI, border control and food safety inspections, but Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and food stamps will be protected.
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