msnbc | February 26, 2013
>>> in the ongoing showdown of the sequester -- excuse me. we're going to go to this shot here. this is air force one as the president is getting ready to head to newport news, virginia. getting the fiscal house in order is much more important than the defense. $43 billion would be gutted from the pentagon this year. this morning on "jansing & co.," decorated msnbc military analyst jack jacobs said that the cuts will hurt military readyingness.
>> in addition to fact -- and there's plenty of fact -- you're also going to cut ammunition, fuel, repair parts for aircraft, flying hours, training time.
>> and just moments ago, i had the opportunity to speak with navy secretary ray mabus who said this way of cutting is hurting our military.
>> we just cannot run a military lurching from one crisis to another. we've got to have some certainty and i think the president has presented a very balanced plan that will require some compromise.
>> joining me is lynn jenkins of kansas. congresswoman, it's great to have you with me. i understand you took part in the conference that was held at the top of the hour and at the same time democrats held their own briefing. congressman chris van hollen made quite an anolg about the cuts. take a listen.
>> rearranging the cuts is like rearranging the jobs either way .
>> what is the illustration and what that means?
>> well, i don't think we are quarrelling with the amount -- dollar amount of the cuts. what we're quarrelling about is where they hit. we are concerned about their military readiness and national security and that is why house republicans twice last year passed a legislation so we couldn't come to this day.
>> when we look at what your colleagues are saying, such as republican congressman ready to stand your ground regardless of the defense cuts, they misunderstood what happened on the fiscal cliff. they thought they had republicans on the run when all they did was push us to the high ground . you want to charge the hill. come on. that was congressman cole. he's sticking by the fact that he thinks that the sequester is inevitable. do you believe that this is inevitable?
>> this is not our first choice. i want to make that clear. the sequester was the president's idea. the house passed legislation to replace it twice last year. this is a senate-manufactured crisis, if you will, because they chose twice to ignore the issue last year and here we are just days away from the sequester hitting. the president himself even threatened to veto any legislation that would replace the sequester. so at this point it is truly up to the senate and the president to pass something if they want to change it at this point. there is nothing more republicans can do. we can't act unilaterally. so the ball is in their court.
>> you announced that the department of homeland security awarded a $40 million contract to build a biodefense facility and you said in that, it's an important step when our nation is looking for significant budget savings. this contract is further evidence we can still find funds for mission critical projects. as we look at where we are as the country, to be war ready and to have military preparedness in check, how do we factor that in with the fact that we are still a nation at war? aren't there places where we need to evaluate where there is an area to cut back that's just not over entitlement, that the left would rather see left in tact?
>> well, again, i believe the first function of the federal government should be to protect us and that's why we are concerned about the funding. i represent ft. leavenworth. training there is part of our military readiness. i believe those should be protected. we are going to take in more money than the federal government has ever taken in in the history of our nation. we are going to take that out of the american people 's pockets and our spending this year, even if the sequester kicks in, is going to exceed what it was last year. chairman -- vice chairman van hollen's comment about rearranging the debt share, i think people need to keep this in perspective. all we need is flexibility to prioritize the spending so that we don't risk military readiness but we have plenty of ways, ridiculous washington spending that can be cut. we just have to root it out.
>> congressman lynn jenkins , thank you for joining me.