Republican Chairmen Take Aim at Defense Budget

Republican Chairmen Take Aim at Defense Budget

first_img Dan Cohen AUTHOR The chairmen of the House and Senate Armed Services committees on Tuesday decried the Pentagon’s fiscal 2017 budget request for shortchanging national security amid a litany of growing threats.“I am disappointed that this request does not adhere to the budget agreement made just last fall,” Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said in a statement. “Last year, Congress passed the Bipartisan Budget Act, which establishes a minimum level of funding for our military. I hoped such an agreement would provide some budget stability and begin to rebuild our military. Unfortunately, this administration continues to play budgetary games with our country’s security and diminishes what credibility it had left,” Thornberry stated.Last week, Thornberry, along with 33 other GOP members on his panel, urged House Budget Chairman Tom Price (R-Ga.) to increase defense spending by as much as $23 billion beyond the Obama administration’s request through an increase in the department’s overseas contingency operations (OCO) account, reported Defense News.Thornberry and other GOP defense hawks argue that the two-year bipartisan budget agreement reached last October set a floor for the OCO account, allowing funds in the account to be raised above $59 billion. The administration and congressional Democrats view the deal as setting a ceiling, however, setting up a fight for the second straight year over the use of DOD’s war fund to sidestep the statutory spending caps.Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.) told reporters Tuesday he would “raise hell” to increase DOD’s budget and invoked the Islamic State-inspired attack on San Bernardino, Calif., according to the story.“I just think the numbers are wrong,” McCain said. “It’s $17 billion short of last year, and in the intervening time, we’ve had attacks on the United States. When will these people wake up? There will be more attacks on the United States of America; this is not the time to be cutting defense spending.”last_img

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