Murkowski Says Sequestration Jeopardizing National Defense

The country could face a second round of automatic budget cuts if Congress can’t agree on a spending plan by year’s end.

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U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski said at hearing on Wednesday that the sequestration cuts already imposed on the Pentagon  are throwing the military off its geostrategic goals.

“Mr. Chairman, I’m so concerned that in an effort to chase the dollars, in an effort to drive down  the costs we’re putting our country, we are putting our national defense in jeopardy because decisions are being driven by sequestration and we’re not keeping our eye on the bigger picture,” Murkowski said.

The Alaska Republican said the Air Force’s recently shelved plan to move F-16s fighter jets out Eielson Air Force Base was an example of putting cost-cutting above defense strategy.

Among the unmet needs, Murkowski said, is new rescue helicopters for the Alaska Air National Guard.

Military service chiefs said last week that sequestration is forcing them to cut programs that will ultimately leave the country less prepared to counter global adversaries.

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Liz Ruskin covers Alaska’s congressional delegation, federal agency decisions that shape life in the 49th state, money in politics and elections. She has deep roots in Alaska and this is her third stint in Washington, a city she has grown to love.

She was born in Anchorage and is a West High graduate. She studied political science at the University of Washington and has an M.A. in journalism from the University of Missouri in Columbia. During graduate school, she moved to Washington to intern as a D.C. correspondent. But for her first real journalism job, she moved back to Alaska to work at the Homer News. She was there for three years before taking a job at the Anchorage Daily News. Over the course of nine years in Anchorage, she covered City Hall, courts, state politics, and Native and rural affairs.

Then, in April 2001, she moved back to Washington to work in McClatchy Newspaper’s D.C. bureau as a correspondent for the Anchorage paper. She stayed in the position for five years.

She took a year off for a journalism fellowship at the University of Colorado in Boulder, then freelanced for several years from the U.K. and Japan, in print and radio.

When a vacancy occurred in APRN’s one-person Washington bureau, she jumped at the opportunity. Liz has been APRN’s Washington, D.C. correspondent since October 2013.

lruskin (at) alaskapublic (dot) org  | About Liz