Maryland Congressman Steny H. Hoyer told members of the South Potomac Civilian-Military Community Relations (COMREL) Council on Tuesday that he is excited about what is happening in Indian Head and Dahlgren, VA, despite the uncertainty within the federal government.
“We can invest in buildings and infrastructure, but if we don’t have the people, the investment in infrastructure will not be worthwhile,” Hoyer stated at the meeting of military and community members at the town green pavilion. “Our people enhance our national defense in cutting edge technologies that have both military and civilian applications.”
He said that those in Washington have their work cut out for them and expressed frustration over the reluctance of politicians to find common ground and work out the nation’s fiscal crisis.
“Budget sequestration—sequestration is a complicated word, starting with an ‘s’ that stands for stupid,” he said. “None of you would run your private business or household this way. They pull a number out of the air that bears no relation to our responsibilities.
“The Congress, as you have undoubtedly noticed, is dysfunctional,” he said.
He said Congress’ action to postpone sequestration for two years was “not what we should have done. It did not realistically look at the challenges and needs we have.
“In the effort to bring the deficit down, we passed legislation which precluded us defaulting on our debt, but the deal only avoided sequestration for two years,” he explained. “It will have real consequences for Indian Head, Patuxent River Naval Air Station and for the Department of Defense overall.”
He pointed out that tax increases will not take care of inflation.
“It’s not getting much play right now, but if you care about the defense of our nation, we need to have some resolution of the fiscal confrontations that have occurred,” Hoyer added. “The rest of the world can’t understand what is happening in America.”
He said that in the last 53 months, the nation has had a job growth of 200,000 (a month), but added that it’s not enough. The unemployment rate is still hovering around 6.2 percent.
“The likelihood is, we’ll pass a continuing resolution,” he said. “It’s not a very rosy scenario. Predictions are difficult. The situation is very much up in the air for the immediate future.”
Hoyer added that in the long term, Congress needs to come to grips with a compromise that puts the nation on a fiscally sustainable path for the foreseeable future.
“What our defense is doing at Indian Head, Pax and St. Inigoes is vital,” he stressed. “Whatever size work force we have, the technology we work on here will be essential moving into the future.
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