10 December 2008

Armed Services Committee Republicans Highlight Democrat Plan to Cut Defense Spending by Twenty-Five Percent

Note: this is a month old, right before the election, but it was interesting and we'd overlooked...

Republican members on the House Armed Services Committee today called attention to Democrat plans to cut national defense spending by twenty-five percent—or approximately $150 billion from the $607 billion in defense spending that was enacted in Fiscal Year 2008. While meeting with the South Coast Standard-Times, Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), the Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, called “for a 25 percent cut in military spending” and stated that “we don’t need all these fancy new weapons.”

Rep. Frank’s comments come on the heels of recent statements by other senior Democrats advocating for a reduction in the planned size of the Army and Marine Corps. In an October 2nd Congressional Quarterly article, Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa), the powerful chairman of the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee, said “[The Defense Department] is going to have to cut personnel in order to pay for procurement. . . . I don't know that they are going to be able to keep growing the Army.” The Department of Defense has proposed—and Congress has enacted—steps to increase the size of the Army by 65,000 and the Marine Corps by 27,000 over the next five years.

Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA), Ranking Republican: “The Democratic leadership has given us a preview of the gutting of national security that would take place under a Democrat presidency. This should give an incentive to every American to ensure that this left-wing assault on America’s national defense, which would be disastrous for America’s troops, does not take place.”

Rep. Phil Gingrey, M.D. (R-GA): “Providing for America's national security is the government's main responsibility, and on no single issue is the difference in philosophy between Democrats and Republicans more profound. At a time when our nation finds itself in an epic struggle against terrorism, not to mention the potential threats posed by Iran and Russia—among others—it is the height of irresponsibility to suggest that now is the time to drastically slash defense spending. Our military is still trying to recover from being shortchanged during the Clinton Administration, and while the economic challenges we face as a nation will undoubtedly require difficult decisions, rather than looking to cut wasteful spending and duplicative programs, Democrats are already lining up to whack the Department of Defense. It's clear that the misplaced priorities of Congressional liberals could undermine our nation's security, a fact that must not be lost on the American people as we consider to whom to entrust our nation's highest office.”

Rep. John McHugh (R-NY), Ranking Republican on the Military Personnel Subcommittee: “It is staggering to me that a leader in the Democratic Party would come out and say we need to cut defense spending by 25 percent. In my opinion, it would be unconscionable to repeat the mistakes of the past on the back of nearly a decade of direct combat operations. The current economic conditions will likely demand tough choices—but these choices should not be at the expense of our men and women in uniform.

“We can’t dictate defense requirements through drastic spending cuts. Talking about a 25 percent spending reduction in the defense budget with troops on the ground is reckless and, if enacted, could have immediate and long-term consequences for America and those individuals who risk their lives daily to defend our nation.

“Rather than talking about dramatic spending reductions, we instead need to ensure that our baseline defense spending provides the necessary equipment, materiel, and force protection for our Armed Forces. The risk of not providing adequate funding for the military to defend our nation is too great. Based on Mr. Frank’s reported remarks, it is a very unfortunate risk he is willing to take.”

Rep. Terry Everett (R-AL), Ranking Republican on the Strategic Forces Subcommittee: “To slash our nation’s defense budget at any time would be foolish, but for liberals to ponder such draconian cuts when our country is at war with global terrorism and rogue nations are increasingly embolden to challenge our status in the world, is reckless and irresponsible. It’s clear that Frank and others in the liberal leadership of Congress want to use defense as a cash cow for their dreams of government spending that rivals European socialism. If the radical left succeeds in getting an unchecked governing mandate this fall, this country’s defense could be in jeopardy.”

Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD), Ranking Republican on the Seapower and Expeditionary Forces Subcommittee: “It’s very disappointing, but it won’t be surprising to some people that one of the primary authors of the $700 billion bailout of Wall Street and key Democratic Congressional liberal protectors of Fannie Mae would propose a $150 billion cut in military spending. That would be a 25 percent cut in defense spending. A 25 percent cut in defense spending would be grossly irresponsible. A 25 percent cut in defense spending will endanger our troops deployed in harm’s way and America’s national security for years to come. It’s even more astonishing considering that Congressional Democratic leaders want to increase the deficit by spending twice as much, $300 billion, for a second stimulus package of domestic spending.”

Rep. Howard P. “Buck” McKeon (R-CA): “The move by Congressional Democrats to arbitrarily cut $150 billion from national defense spending is both dangerous and irresponsible, especially during a time of war. It sends a horrific message to our enemies and displays a lack of Congressional commitment to our military forces. House Democrats are attempting to minimize the need for critical equipment by calling them 'fancy new weapons,' but it should be made clear that withholding that technology will cost human lives. We cannot mortgage our future for short-term gain.”

Rep. Jeff Miller (R-FL): “These are dangerous and unprecedented times. We are at war with Islamic fundamentalists and face dangerous enemies abroad. Cutting defense spending at this critical time is one of the most irresponsible proposals I have heard. America must be prepared to fight our current war and prepare for future challenges. Our men and women rely on the best weapon systems and equipment to do their jobs. As lawmakers, we owe it to them to provide the best weapons to protect them as they protect us and our families.

“Democrat plans to gut our Defense Department, especially during a time of war, are irresponsible and dangerous. All Americans should be concerned that a Democrat-controlled Congress will continue to cut needed defense spending and use the money for other non-vital social programs.”

Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC): “It is disappointing that Democrats seem fully prepared to push through billions in reckless cuts to our national defense. In the face of our efforts to grow our forces and equip them for the challenges of the 21st century, it is downright irresponsible to drastically cut funding for our military – particularly at a time when our brave soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines are deployed in combat overseas. Blanket reductions on such a scale would be a willful disregard for the needs of our troops and for the threats that our nation faces.”

Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT): “We're still playing catch-up from the last time a Democrat-controlled Congress made the mistake of drastic cuts to defense spending, so it's absurd to even consider reducing support for our troops and national security right now. The better we fund defense, the more options we have, both militarily and diplomatically. Providing for the common defense is one of our few Constitutional responsibilities, and slashing that support would represent a shirking of that responsibility and put our fighting men and women and our country at risk.”

Rep. John Kline (R-MN): “With the increasing demands being placed on our armed forces, Congressman Frank’s proposal to reduce defense spending by 25 percent represents the height of recklessness. A bipartisan consensus has emerged on the House Armed Services Committee about the need to increase the amount of U.S. military personnel to ease the strain on our military families and help prevent the overuse of our National Guard and Reserve components. It would be nearly impossible to ease this burden on our military personnel and their families if defense spending suffers a massive 25 percent cut.

“We need to continue to support our brave sons and daughters in uniform and ensure we keep our promises to our veterans of today and tomorrow. Slashing defense spending in such dramatic fashion would be reckless and irresponsible.”

Rep. Geoff Davis (R-KY): "At a time when our country is fighting two wars, the Democrats’ proposed $150 billion defense spending cut would impose unnecessary risk upon our nation's service men and women. One of Congress' top priorities should be supporting the brave patriots who dedicate their lives to serving and protecting our country. These men and women deserve to have all the resources they need delivered to them in a timely and efficient manner. Furthermore, the suggestion that we reduce the size of the Army and the Marine Corps would reverse the necessary increases, achieved in recent years, to the strength of our ground forces who bear the brunt of fighting the war on radical Islam.”

Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO): “To suggest cutting the U.S. defense budget by $150 billion, or one-fourth, is not only irresponsible but shows a blatant disregard for the defense of the United States and the safety of our brave men and women in uniform. As we continue the fight against terror, we cannot afford to put our troops in greater danger by not allowing them the best weapons systems and protective devices possible, and we must always ensure that our military is ready for whatever major conflict may arise. In fact, several of my colleagues and I would propose that defense spending should be increased to meet all of the unfunded needs of each branch of the military.”

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