Sen. Lindsey Graham says sequester would likely target F-35 planes

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Sen. Lindsey Graham said Tuesday that coming automatic budget cuts known as the “sequester” would hollow out the military and particularly hurt states home to the F-35, reports The Hill.

“A cut of this magnitude will hollow out the greatest fighting force in the world,” said Graham.

In Florida, the cuts could be especially harmful.  The F-35 program is already creating a $1.5 billion economic impact in the state while supporting 12,500 jobs.

Eglin Air Force Base is considered the center of the F-35 program, with 12 planes currently housed there conducting regular training sorties. All training for American and allied pilots will occur at Eglin AFB.

The Item reported that Graham was touring South Carolina to warn about the pending cuts, which will start with a $109 billion cut to 2013 spending in January. Like other Republicans, Graham warned that some replacement is needed before then.
“We need to have a sense of urgency about this,” he said. “January will be here before we know it.”
Senate Republicans have said the Obama administration has not revealed how it would like to structure the sequester, even though officials have said they also oppose the Defense Department cuts. Republicans introduced a bill last week asking for this clarification.
The House has also approved a bill that would replace the required cuts to military and other discretionary spending with deeper cuts to so-called mandatory spending.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.