Jason Plummer, the Republican 12th U.S. House District nominee, announced Thursday that if sent to congress he will seek to protect Scott Air Force Base from the impact of nearly $1 trillion in cuts to the federal budget if the White House and congress can't be made to cut the deficit.
Plummer held a news conference outside the Shiloh gate to the air base to underscore his support for the base. Plummer was joined by U.S. House members John Shimkus, R-Collinsville, and Adam Kinzinger, R-Manteno.
The two congressmen joined Plummer, whose Naval Reserve unit meets monthly at Scott, to affirm their desire to go to Washington, D.C. "not just to keep Scott Air Force Base here, but to grow Scott Air Force Base," Plummer said.
The federal budget, however, faces big, mandatory across-the-board cuts in early January if congress and the president can't agree on a plan to cut the nation's $16 trillion debt. If the so-called "sequester" occurs, more than $500 billion would be cut from the nation's defense budget over the next decade.
At the very least, that would result in a 10 percent cut to Scott's yearly budget, Kinzinger said.
Scott, with a workforce of more than 13,000 people, wields $3 billion in annual economic impact on the St. Louis metropolitan region.
Plummer promised to work with Republicans and Democrats to protect the military and boost Scott's role in the local economy.
The sequester is the product of last year's debt ceiling battle. If allowed to go into effect, nearly $110 billion in cuts to federal programs would begin in 2013, with half that amount focused on military spending.
Plummer, 30, a Fairview Heights real estate developer, is running against Democratic nominee Bill Enyart, 63, a Belleville attorney and retired Illinois National Guard commander, and Paula Bradshaw, a Carbondale emergency room nurse who is the Green Party candidate.
All three are vying in the Nov. 6 election to replace U.S. Rep. Jerry Costello, D-Belleville, who is retiring after 24 years in office.