February 21, 2013

Kaine Continues Defense Tour in Staunton, Stafford & Quantico

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, a new member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, continued his defense tour across Virginia today with stops in Staunton, Stafford, and Quantico to discuss the harmful impact budget uncertainty and sequestration are already having on military readiness and the future of our national defense.

Kaine began the day in Staunton, meeting with members of the Virginia National Guard 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team and touring their facilities. The 116th unit has an extraordinary history and has been completing missions since before the French and Indian War. Throughout the discussion, Kaine shared lessons he learned as Commander of the Virginia National Guard during his term as Governor and asked for ways he could support the Virginia Guard in this new role.

“Members of the Virginia National Guard continue to play a significant role in our security,” Kaine said. “It's unacceptable that continued budget uncertainty will delay training and equipment for these men and women. I hope members of Congress are hearing from their constituents about the adverse effects of sequestration and come back next week ready to compromise and find a solution to these harmful cuts.”

Following the event in Staunton, Kaine met with veterans, a wounded warrior unit, and their families, at the Globe and Laurel Restaurant in Stafford. Over lunch, they discussed the need for continuing care for veterans. Kaine outlined his commitment to aiding returning military as they transition to civilian life, as well as his support for credentialing skills earned during service to help service men and women secure employment when they return. Kaine will continue his commitment to these issues as a member of the Personnel Subcommittee on the Senate Armed Services Committee.

“We ask an extraordinary amount from our military families who continue to sacrifice on our behalf as they go through multiple deployments and quick relocations,” Kaine said. “It's unacceptable that Congress' inability to find a long-term budget agreement would add to the load these soldiers and their families carry.”

Kaine, who is also a member of the Readiness and Management Support Subcommittee, concluded his day with a tour of the training facilities at the Marine Corps Base at Quantico. During his conversations with Marines and leadership, Kaine discussed the impact budget uncertainty is already having on military readiness in Virginia and reiterated his belief that sequestration can still be averted and his support for an orderly budget process to replace the present uncertainty.

“As a member of the Armed Services committee and the Subcommittee on Personnel, I am acutely aware of how sequester and budget uncertainty affects the training of Marines at Quantico,” Kaine told Marines on the base. “When we delay trainings or missions, we not only hurt our Marines in the short run before they deploy but it also causes a ripple effect that puts other trainings in jeopardy. On behalf of our security and our service members, Congress must do better and I hope to work with all members to negotiate a compromise next week.” 

Since taking office last month, Kaine has expressed his strong opposition to the March 1 sequester cuts, calling for a strategic realignment of budget deadlines during a series of roundtables, visits to military installations, Senate hearings, and in an opinion editorial published last week.

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