Three Republican members of the House Armed Services Committee, in addition to the chairman, Buck McKeon, have put out statements critical of the new round of Obama defense cuts—Todd Akin, Randy Forbes, and Rob Wittman.
Akin Concerned By Proposed Defense Cuts, Prepared for Hearings on Impact on Navy & Marine Corps
WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Todd Akin, Chairman of the Seapower & Expeditionary Forces Subcommittee and member of the House Budget Committee, released the following statement in response to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates’ “efficiency” proposals:
“I appreciate Secretary Gates’ effort to find inefficiencies and waste in the DOD budget. Congress and the Administration must work together to ensure that every single tax dollar is spent wisely. There are certainly wasteful and inefficient parts of the DOD that should be cut. At the same time, I find it stunning that the Obama Administration thinks cutting almost $80 billion from our defense budget while we are at war is a responsible course of action. I have a number of concerns about the specifics as well as the overall priorities this action reveals. If Secretary Gates wants Congress to even consider supporting any of these proposals, he must personally ensure that Congress receives the information we need, rather than stiff-arming the Congress as has been the norm for the last few years.
“First, I think this announcement shows the liberal priorities of this Administration. The only department undertaking a serious budget cutting exercise is the Department of Defense. Where are the similar reviews at any other executive department? Our military is at war, and our military is the only department asked to seriously tighten its budget?
“Second, President Obama’s budget shop has already shown an interest in “harvesting” even the reinvested savings and applying them outside the Department of Defense, rather than letting the military use these funds for other priorities as Secretary Gates has proposed. I am worried that Gates will propose these cuts, walk out the door, and leave the military with a constricting budget and little political support to oppose an even larger cut.
“Third, many of these cuts seem to have been decided upon in a vacuum, ignoring the strategic situation our nation is in, and the capabilities we need to fight and win today and tomorrow. For example, do we as a nation think that the Marine Corps should be able to get from ships to the shore in a battle? If so, cutting the EFV is absurd. If the President and the Secretary of Defense want to get rid of the Marine Corps, they should come out and say that directly.
“While my concerns are significant, and these proposals will require serious oversight from the Armed Services Committee, I do think elements of the reinvestments make sense. In particular, buying more F/A-18’s to fill the gap created by the JSF delays makes a lot of sense and is something that I have championed for years. These Super Hornets will help address the Navy’s strike fighter shortfall and are a great deal for taxpayers. I look forward to hearings on every aspect of this proposal.”
Forbes Statement on Gates’ Announcement to Slash $78 Billion of Defense Budget for Social Programs
Congressman J. Randy Forbes (VA-04) released the following statement today after Secretary of Defense Robert Gates announced that $78 billion of the defense budget will be slashed to fund social programs elsewhere in the President’s budget, despite the fact that Gates said earlier this year that all defense cuts would be reordered within the Department of Defense:
“In the last month, increasingly concerning reports regarding China’s military buildup have surfaced. These include news of China’s development of the DF-21D, a second missile system that is capable of taking out our aircraft carriers, rumors of Chinese plans for double-digit expansion of its defense spending, and reports that China is moving closer to having an operational carrier at some point this year. In 2009, shortly after the Pentagon announced it would discontinue the F-22 program, Secretary Gates predicted that China would not have a stealth fighter by 2020. Yet, this week photos have surfaced of a Chinese stealth fighter participating in high speed taxi tests, a precursor to initial test flights, that according to some, rivals the F-22 and is decisively superior to the F-35.