Wicker delivers GOP weekly address

By Geoff Pender,The Sun Herald, Biloxi, Miss. (MCT)

U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker today delivered the Republican Weekly Address in Washington, focusing on defense cuts from the Sequestration Transparency Act signed this week by President Obama, which Wicker says would be devastating to Mississippi and the nation.

“Severe and indiscriminate cuts that harm our security are not the way to address America’s fiscal challenges,” Wicker said. “Unless the current law is changed, sequestration will force another half a trillion in cuts to defense programs over the next 10 years.”

Wicker said the $16 trillion in national debt is “staggering” and “unsustainable,” but that the fall-back plan of budget sequestration after a bipartisan “supercommittee” failed to find “real and lasting budget reform” will have “unacceptable consequences” starting Jan. 3 after sequestration takes effect.

“The stakes are unmistakably high,” Wicker said. “Crippling defense cuts are just around the corner, and we have an obligation to make tough decisions on how to avoid sequestration and balance the budget long-term.”

Wicker said some defense manufacturers have already begun the process of issuing required lay-off warning notices to shareholders and employees.

He said nationally 1 million jobs are at risk, with more than 11,000 in Mississippi.

Wicker said that under sequestration, Army units would receive less training before deploying to the Middle East, Marine troop levels would be cut by 10 percent, the Navy fleet would drop to 230 ships — the lowest level since World War I — and the Air Force would lose vital maintenance funds.

Each Saturday, the president delivers an address, and the party opposite offers its own. Wicker also provided the Republican address in June of 2010.

Coverage of President Obama’s address

Obama pledges all-out response to drought
MATTHEW DALY,Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is pledging a wide-ranging response to the worst drought in a quarter-century.

In his weekly radio and Internet address, Obama says his administration is giving farmers and ranchers access to low-interest emergency loans, is opening more federal land for grazing and is distributing $30 million to get water to livestock.

Obama says Congress needs to pass a farm bill to ensure a long-term solution.

Lawmakers have asked Obama to relax ethanol production targets, citing low corn supplies and spiking prices. An Obama spokesman says officials are keeping a close eye on corn yields but have made no decision.