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Hirono: Ending Sequestration Will Take More Than Lip Service

July 19, 2017, 8:00 AM HST
* Updated July 19, 7:00 AM
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Sen. Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawai‘i), the Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Seapower Subcommittee, heard from former Reagan Administration officials today on the impacts of former President Ronald Reagan’s expansion of the Navy in light of current efforts to increase the size of the Navy’s fleet to 355 from 308. The expansion under Reagan led to an increase of the Navy’s fleet by roughly 70 ships by the end of the 1980s.

Currently, the Navy is planning to increase submarines and other platforms to raise surface combatant force levels from the previously projected need of 308 ships to 355. While investments in our national security are essential, Sen. Hirono renewed calls for the need to eliminate sequestration in a way that balances military investments with critical domestic programs.

“One thing is clear, if we do not deal with the Budget Control Act, we could end up cutting, not increasing, the size of the Navy,” said Sen. Hirono. “We all know the ongoing negative impact of sequestration and yet have not mustered the political will to do something about it. My hope is that at some point, sooner rather than later, we will come together to pay more than lip service to the need to end sequestration.”

This hearing is part of a continued series of committee hearings to consider the Fiscal Year 2018 defense budget request and follows the Senate Armed Services Committee’s release of the FY 2018 National Defense Authorization Act, important legislation which sets Department of Defense funding levels and policy each year. That legislation, which has yet to be taken up by the full Senate, sets a 355-ship goal for the Navy, and includes a number of provisions authored and supported by Sen. Hirono to invest in Hawai‘i’s military installations and personnel.

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