Fayetteville, North Carolina (CNN) – During a visit to the Fort Bragg area Thursday, vice presidential hopeful Rep. Paul Ryan said President Barack Obama needs to come up with a budget agreement or else North Carolina's defense industry and one of the nation's largest military populations will be threatened.
The House Budget Committee chairman – along with other Republicans – voted for the original debt ceiling deal that led to the current stalemate. The policy came about after a congressional "super committee" failed to reach a deficit-reduction plan last year. Months earlier, Congress had voted to implement the cuts if the super committee didn't ultimately find an agreement.
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"And so the House has already passed, as well as the Senate, which has now been finally signed into law, bipartisan legislation saying put up or shut up. The president needs to show us how he plans on putting this in place, if he is not going to help us pass legislation preventing it in the first place, so we're now waiting for that answer," Ryan said.
Mitt Romney's running mate accused Obama of putting politics before the nation's military.
"It's our duty to preserve this legacy to support our voluntary force of men and women who volunteer to serve our nation and not let them be pawns in a political game because this is messing with jobs and lives," he said.
"[W]hatever happens between now and November, will happen between now and November," said Ryan. "But what Mitt Romney is committed to doing is making sure this doesn't take place, and that means if we have to do it in January, we will do it in January."
Ryan said he will try to "fix it retroactively" between November and January. "Now we believe that we have a procedural way in the Senate to advance that legislation very quickly and get it to the next president of the United States who I believe is going to be Mitt Romney, to pass that into law, and retroactively prevent that sequester from taking place in January."
If Republicans and Democrats fail to come to a budget agreement by the end of the year, significant cuts to the Department of Defense could become a reality. Beginning in 2013, the federal government would undergo a series of budget reductions to defense and non-defense programs that would total $1.2 trillion in cuts over the next decade.
It was during a roundtable discussion at a small defense contracting company in Fayetteville where Ryan said the looming defense cuts could cost 55,000 jobs in North Carolina.
"The president's demanding a massive tax increase on small businesses which will cost us jobs in exchange for these defense sequesters. We don't want to trade small business jobs for military jobs. We want more jobs across the board," Ryan said.
Speaking to about 100 people associated with the military or defense industries, the seven-term congressman from Wisconsin held up a card that was in the pocket of his blazer and shared something he hasn't talked about since he became Romney's running mate on August 11.
"I carry this card in my pocket. I've carried it with me for years. I don't really talk about this often," he said. "It's the men and women who have lost their lives, the men who have lost their lives in Wisconsin. I've talked to these families, been at the funerals. It's the ultimate sacrifice."