Yet not all of those jobs would be lost in a defense sequester. And Democrats claim the Pentagon can absorb some reductions, particularly as wars wind down.
They also point out that some Republicans now complaining about the sequester actually voted for the debt ceiling bill that put the measure into the law.
Republican leaders have also ignored both their own role in creating sequestration in the first place and the fact that their stubborn resistance to any increase in revenues is the biggest reason why sequestration is even a possibility, House Armed Services Committee member Rep. Adam Smith, a Washington state Democrat, wrote in June.
Some scoff at Republican claims that Pentagon cuts will cost civilian employment. GOP members routinely say federal spending cant create jobs, they argue, but change their views when defense cuts are involved.
Even Hartzler paused when asked to explain why stimulus spending doesnt create jobs while defense spending does.
I wasnt there when they did the stimulus package, she said. Im just supporting our national defense, making sure these jobs arent lost.
Hartzler voted against the debt ceiling bill that created the sequester process, as did Cleaver.
Some Democrats, worried about civilian job cuts, are treading lightly when the defense sequester issue is raised. Hartzlers Democratic opponent in the 4th Congressional District, Teresa Hensley, criticized the budget process but did not say the defense sequester should go forward as planned.
Strong military bases are crucial to jobs and the economy in the 4th District, so I support taking steps to make sure they have the resources they need, she said. But we cant afford to allow Congress to continue its reckless handling of important issues like this.
Whiteman Air Force Base is a major presence, and employer, in Missouris 4th District.
One defense contractor has threatened to send required notices of potential layoffs just before the November election, blaming the sequester. And Republicans have pressed legislation that would force the White House to outline where the cuts will come next year if the sequester is enacted, Blunt said.
The White House is telling people to keep the effects of these cuts secret, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said last week.
The administration, including Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, has said it opposes the sequester and the defense cuts because of their potential effect on the military.
But White House officials have insisted the only way to avoid the cuts is to raise taxes on the wealthy and close corporate loopholes, something Republicans have so far rejected.
Sequestration must be prevented, said Democrats on the Armed Services Committee. We cannot separate out defense and protect it from cuts while devastating other important programs. If Republicans put revenue on the table, the solution is simple.