WASHINGTON – Rep. Howard P “Buck” McKeon, Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, made the following statement on the President’s budget for Fiscal Year 2013.Regarding the choices involved in the budget, Chairman McKeon said, “The President’s budget is a clear articulation of Mr. Obama’s priorities; reduce resources for our struggling Armed Forces, and redirect them to exploding domestic bureaucracies. This budget reflects a true reduction, in real terms, of military spending while we have troops in combat. It irresponsibly ignores the looming threat of sequestration, while failing to adequately address threats posed by our adversaries around the world. It asks the men and women in uniform who have given so much already to give that much more, so that the President might fund programs the American people don’t want and can’t afford.”
The budget, which was made available for Committee examination over the weekend, represents a negative cut in real growth, and over $45 billion less than the President's request for last year. It also finds savings in military compensation as it attempts to shift people from Tricare to other health care plans. Despite the goal of pivoting to Asia, a theater where naval assets are decisive, the budget calls for retiring nine ships and removes sixteen more from the new construction plan.
The President's new defense strategy "supports the national security imperative of deficit reduction through a lower level of defense spending.” It appears this is the only sector of the federal government to meaningfully contribute to deficit reduction. Simultaneously, the budget proposes additional spending by diverting “savings” from declining war funding to domestic infrastructure spending.
Commenting on those changes, McKeon said, “As my colleagues across the aisle have pointed out for some time, war funding has always been deficit spending. How can you ‘save’ by not spending money you never had? This is a cynical gimmick that ensures our military- and only our military- is held responsible for what little deficit reduction this budget represents. I don't believe that Members in either party will fall for it. "
“White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew said ‘the time for austerity is not today.' They’ll have a tough time explaining that to the 100,000 troops who will be forced from service under the President’s new budget plan,” McKeon said.