Pacific Business News

U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta praised Congress in a statement Wednesday for its actions to avoid the fiscal cliff and delay any cuts in military spending and other areas.

Congress approved a deal Tuesday night to avoid the fiscal cliff and delay the cuts, also known as sequestration, for at least two months while it hammers out a deal to avoid those reductions.panetta

“On behalf of the Department of Defense, I want to express our thanks to the Democratic and Republican members of Congress who voted to temporarily avert sequestration,” Panetta said. “Hopefully, this will allow additional time to develop a balanced deficit reduction plan that would permanently prevent these arbitrary cuts.

“Over the past few weeks, as we were forced to begin preparing to implement this law, my concerns about its damaging effects have only grown.”

If the cuts were made, it would have meant sending out notices to the Defense Department’s 800,000 civilian employees that they could be furloughed, Panetta added.

Hawaii, as well as other states that depend heavily on military spending, would experience a severe impact from the defense cuts, according to a report by the Center for Security Policy.

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