(Above: Sen. Saxby Chambliss says one option to head off the automatic budget cuts would be a bipartisan compromise in which each side makes painful concessions in order to reduce the debt.)
Georgia's two U.S. senators and Central Georgia congressmen from both parties sounded an alarm today about the approaching deadline to avert mandatory Federal budget cuts.
At a joint appearance at Middle Georgia Technical College in Warner Robins, 2nd District Rep. Sanford Bishop (D) of Albany said defense cuts under the so-called "sequestration" would have a destructive impact on Robins Air Force Base. He said the cuts could eliminate one million jobs from the U.S. economy by 2014.
The $1.2 trillion in across-the-board budget cuts would automatically kick in if Congress doesn't develop a debt-reduction plan of its own. That was part of the 2011 deal to increase the debt ceiling.
Republicans and Democrats in Congress are deadlocked over a debt-reduction plan. Republican leaders oppose any tax increases, saying they would slow down the economy. Democrats are resisting any budget cuts unless accompanied by revenue increases.
Eighth District Rep. Austin Scott (R) of Ashburn said: "We cannot keep kicking this can down the road."
Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R) said "the closer we get to January 1, the more serious this becomes."
Chambliss was one of the bipartisan "Gang of Six" who sought a debt compromise in 2011. He said today: "shame on us" if Congress doesn't reach a solution before the deadline.
Chambliss said the mandatory cuts would eliminate an extra 100,000 troops from the Army and 20,000 Marines. He said some defense contractors are already issuing federally-required warnings to their employees of possible layoffs if the cuts take effect.
Bishop said civilian cuts would hit many social programs and cost tens of thousands of jobs for police officers and teachers.
Bishop said the current political climate had made "compromise" a bad word.
Sen. Johnny Isakson praised Chambliss's efforts to promote a deal as an example of leadership.
Bishop said the deadline was intended to motivate the so-called Supercommittee to make "mutually-disagreeable" cuts to defense and civilian programs to help reduce the national debt.
Chambliss said the Supercommittee "totally failed."
The bipartisan Supercommittee was composed of 12 legislators from the House and Senate.
President Obama says both parties will have to give something to avoid massive cuts in defense and other programs.
"Democrats have to understand we're going to need some additional spending cuts, and Republicans have to understand we're going to need some additional revenues,"Obama toldThe Virginian-Pilot.
While calling on Democrats to give on spending cuts, Obama blamed most of the impasse on Republicans who refuse to agree to higher taxes on the nation's wealthiest Americans.
Obama has proposed that the George W. Bush tax cuts be ended for Americans making more than $250,000 a year.
Obama also told television stationWVEC of Norfolk, Va., that a deal is unlikely until after the November election.
(The attached video of President Obama is an interview with our Jacksonville station about the debt stalemate.)