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National Guard hit hard by sequester cuts

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Men and women who served in Afghanistan, Iraq and many other places around the world say they are getting a raw deal from the politicians in Washington, D.C.  Nearly 700 people in Indiana are losing a benefit promised to them by the Pentagon.

More than a decade of service has given Officer Marquitta Newett plenty of overseas experience.

“I spent my first tour in Germany, and I have been over to Iraq, and after about 12 years of service I decided to become an officer,” said Newett.

Now, Officer Newett is trying to transition into the next phase, from service to civilian life.

“I received my associate’s degree in accounting, and I received my bachelor’s degree in accounting, so right now tuition assistance, being in the guard helps a lot because I am working on my master’s degree,” said Newett.

Newett’s dream of earning her master’s, and becoming a CPA is taking a major hit.

There are three ways members of the military can receive financial aid:
– Supplemental Grant
– G.I. Bill
– Federal Tuition Assistance

The sequester is whiping away Federal Tuition Assistance completely.

“It hurt,” said Sergeant Joey Cope.  “It hurt for sure.”

Cope was looking forward to going back to school but that is not happening anymore, at least not right now.

“I would say 70 percent of our soldiers enlist for tuition assistance,” said Cope.  “It is the number one reason why they enlist. It is not for the sign-on bonus, they do it for the school.  That is what is going to help them the most in their future.”

In all, between 500 and 700 Guardsmen receive Federal Tuition Assistance every semester.  Colonel Lee Baker said the cuts of the sequestration could be deep when it comes recruiting new members and keeping current ones to re-enlist.

“We’re responsible for managing the organization, and if you don’t have the people, you can’t manage the organization,” said Baker.

Baker said he is optimistic that something will get done to pay military members back for their service.

Newett said it is a chance to find another use for what she learned on the battlefield.

“You cannot allow one barrier to hold you back, you have to find a way around it, and that is what we have to do as soldiers is to push forward and do not let it stop us,” said Newett.


    • Gat273

      Obama supporters? This little cut 'n paste should help you understand why this is happening. For additional details, please Google Budget Control Act 2011, By Party to see who actually voted for this. Perhaps someone you voted for

      It's time to pay the piper. One side wants more out of the top tier, the other side wants cuts in entitlements such as medicare etc.

      Since the only thing our people in Washington like to do is fight, this is what we get so don't throw a fit.

      What is the sequester?

      It’s a package of automatic spending cuts that’s part of the Budget Control Act (BCA), which was passed in August 2011.

      The cuts, which are projected to total $1.2 trillion, are scheduled to begin in 2013 and end in 2021, evenly divided over the nine-year period.

      The cuts are also evenly split between defense spending — with spending on wars exempt — and discretionary domestic spending, which exempts most spending on entitlements like Social Security and Medicaid, as the Bipartisan Policy Center explains.

      The total cuts for 2013 will be $109 billion, according to the new White House report.

  • Smarter than you

    Uh mr lepage, why is her title officer? Is she a leo? Or is she an officer in the guard? If so, refer to her by her rank, not classification. I guess you never learned that at your school of journalism. Oh, and where was your editor in this process?

    This display of "excellence" from the same machine that wants me to believe everything they put out….haha

  • RedState_Vet

    So a 2.5% reduction in spending INCREASE this year required this program to be cut? Or was it cut by the Obama administration for exactly this purpose- negative publicity that they will try to pin on the GOP. Everything that the trainee-in-chief does is motivated by partisan politics- his goal here is to retake the House in 2014 so he can push through his radical far left agenda. He does not give a damn about the average American.

  • Beverly50

    I am a little confused. As an Independent voter, I see the sequester as an equal opportunity blame. Didn't Obama think of it to assure that our legislature would be forced to work together because no politician in their right mind could possibly allow it to happen? And didn't it pass the house and the senate for the exact same reason? All I see is losers – especially the American people. I fail to see how any party can hold their heads up and look us in the eye.

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