Scott Air Force's mission could be jeopardized if deep budget cuts occur because of the federal budget sequester set to occur March 1, according to U.S. Rep. Bill Enyart, D-Belleville, a member of the House Armed Services Committee.
After a meeting of the armed services panel Wednesday, Enyart issued a statement in which he stated that "We cannot afford to risk Scott's ability to carry out missions or threaten the jobs or promises made to men and women who dedicate their lives to keeping our nation safe."
If Congress fails to reach a deal to avoid the sequester, thousands of Scott civilian employees could be laid off or furloughed as the Department of Defense deals with a nearly 10-percent budget cut across many programs.
Enyart won the race for the 12th U.S. House District, which covers 12 counties in southwestern Illinois, in the Nov. 6 election. Before the election, Enyart served in the military for 35 years and most recently, as the Adjutant General of the Illinois National Guard.
At the hearing, Enyart also admonished Congress for playing "political games" instead of working together when national security and good jobs are at stake.
Gen. Mark A. Welsh III, the Air Force chief of staff, issued a statement in which he warned that, "If (sequestration) occurs, it will significantly undermine your Air Force's readiness and responsiveness today."