Here in Beaufort County, our military and the defense not only play a vital role in our economy, but they also are our friends, family and neighbors. The Marine Corps Air Station, Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island and the Naval Hospital are home to thousands of families who sacrifice everyday to help keep the rest of us safe.
As a nation, we have long lived at the forefront of innovation. That includes making sure we have the best-equipped and best-trained military in the world. Unfortunately, the threats to our way of life continue to evolve around the world every day. Recent events in Libya, Pakistan, Egypt and across the Middle East have shown just how diligent we must remain. Simply put, it is incredibly important that we remain ahead of those who wish us harm.
But right now, the most devastating force threatening that ability is not a foreign power, but rather a law passed last year right here at home. The defense sequester put in place by last year's Budget Control Act endangers jobs across the nation, directly affecting our national security, intelligence community, economy and thousands of families right here in the Lowcountry.
A report released this week shows that the military and defense communities support 140,000 jobs and $16 billion in economic activity in South Carolina alone. That's nearly 10 percent of our state's economy. And as this newspaper reported last week, that breaks down to $1.2 billion and nearly 13,000 jobs in Beaufort and Jasper counties alone.
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In the U.S. House, I have voted to replace these devastating cuts to our national defense and our economy. We cannot allow politics to take control of this situation and to cause irreversible harm to our nation's ability to defend itself, and we cannot allow these cuts to harm South Carolina families.
Whether we're talking about IEDs, cyberattacks or more conventional methods, we cannot step backward in our ability to protect our soil. The past few years have shown just how quickly things can change, and we owe it to those who put their lives on the line for our nation to ensure they have the best resources available to defend themselves and the rest of us.
A former official in the U.S. Department of Justice said, "The most important thing to happen in the U.S. the last 10 years was nothing ... the most important question to ask is why and whether it was worth it."
Keeping ahead of the rest of the world in order to protect our homeland is always worth it. Plain and simple.