Schuyler Kropf

Post and Courier

U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham says Congress may not get motivated to reverse billions of dollars in automatic Department of Defense cuts until after “thousands of people get a layoff notice.”

During a visit by Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter on Monday, Graham, R-S.C., added that Washington was guilty of “political malpractice,” by putting so much of the nation’s military budgets at risk.


Those cuts are part of the 2011 Budget Control Act’s “sequestration provisions,” or triggered, across-the-board cuts in domestic and military spending.

By some estimates the total dollar amount being cut from the Pentagon through sequestration and other means ranges as high $1.2 trillion over 10 years.

Carter, who was making his first trip to Charleston, did not directly address the pending cuts Graham is sounding the alarm on. Instead, during his brief address inside a hangar at the Charleston Air Force Base, Carter said the services should be ready for the next frontier and the next challenges after 10 years of fighting in the two most-recent theaters.

Outside of South Carolina, experts who monitor the defense industry said South Carolina could suffer greatly if the sequestration cuts are allowed to stand, with defense contractors taking a huge hit.

Christine Brim, CEO of the Center for Security Policy in Washington, said minority-owned businesses also could be among the hardest slapped because they may count on one or two DOD line expenditures to survive.

“If those contracts are lost, a business could go under,” she said.

Graham, meanwhile, said he expects it will take something drastic, like 90-day layoff notices, for Congress to be forced into action.

Politicians are “not going to act until there’s friction,” he added.

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