Defense

July 16, 2012

Democratic leader to GOP: Compromise to avert defense cut

by Donna Cassata
Associated Press

The Senate’s Democratic leader insisted July 12 that if House Republicans desperately want to avert automatic cuts to the military, they have to compromise and make tax increases part of any solution.

In a biting letter to the GOP members of the House Armed Services Committee, Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said he would like to come up with an alternative “sooner rather than later” to the $1.2 trillion across-the-board cuts in domestic and military programs that kick in Jan. 2. But Reid argued that it will only happen if the GOP relents on closing tax loopholes to raise revenues.

“Given your concern about sequestration, I would encourage you to focus your energy on convincing Republicans that forging a balanced compromise that protects the middle class is more important than adhering to the Tea Party’s rigid, extreme ideology,” Reid wrote.

Members of the Armed Services Committee, led by Chairman Howard “Buck” McKeon, R-Calif., had written to Reid on June 27 demanding that he offer a plan to avoid the automatic cuts or stop blocking Republican-backed proposals to address the issue. Among those plans is the House-passed legislation that cuts food stamps, benefits for federal workers and other social services programs to spare defense. Another targets federal employees. Neither has Democratic support.

“Unless you allow a plan to resolve sequestration to come to the Senate floor, you will not only force the automatic cuts to your domestic agenda, but you will bear responsibility for the morally unconscionable outcome that breaks faith with our service members and their families,” the Republicans wrote to Reid.

Sequestration is the term often used for the across-the-board reductions.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has warned about the meat-ax approach of the automatic cuts, arguing it would hollow out the force. The cuts would come on top of a $492 billion reduction in defense over 10 years that President Barack Obama and congressional Republicans agreed to last summer. That law created a special bipartisan committee to come up with an alternative to the $1.2 trillion cuts, but the panel failed to agree on a plan and the countdown clock began on slashing spending across-the-board.

In his letter, Reid sarcastically pointed out that many Republicans voted for the cuts. McKeon has said he regrets his vote.

“Thank you for your letter urging the Senate to renege on spending cuts included in the Bipartisan Budget Control Act,” the Democrat wrote.

Shortly after the letter’s release, McKeon fired back.

“While the House made tough choices and acted to resolve the first year of sequestration, Senator Reid has seen fit only to posture and preen,” he said in a statement. “That is unworthy of his office, of his constituents, and of the fine deliberative traditions in the Senate. It is time for him to get to work.”

The rancorous tone of the letters and comments reflected the deep divide in Congress over issues that, if unresolved, could threaten the struggling economy. Lawmakers face critical decisions on whether to extend the expiring Bush tax cuts, raise the nation’s borrowing authority and find a way to avert the automatic cuts. Real action is not expected until after the November elections during a lame-duck congressional session.

Various groups of senators have been trying to come up with a resolution.

Sen. John McCain, the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said July 12 that he has been talking privately with the panel’s chairman, Democrat Carl Levin of Michigan, Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and other lawmakers about various options to avert the cuts, including a $110 billion, one-year plan that would include closing tax loopholes.

“The secretary of defense has said the cuts would be devastating to national security,” McCain told a handful of reporters. “Then I have to keep trying.”

McCain said it was imperative that they come up with some plan before the congressional break in August.

He faces a tough challenge in securing strong bipartisan support, a reality underscored by House Speaker John Boehner’s comments earlier in the day. The Ohio Republican said closing tax loopholes should be part of a deal for tax reform rather than a way to avert the defense cuts.

“Raising taxes in a weak economy is not a good idea. If we’re serious about bringing down rates, both corporate rates and personal rates, closing those loopholes, those special deals and other credits that are in the tax code, needs to come as part of overall tax reform,” Boehner said.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Headlines July 31, 2015

News: Carter: Military leaders could arm more troops at home – Following the recent fatal shooting of four Marines and a sailor in Tennessee, Defense Secretary Ash Carter is ordering the military services to consider new policies that would enhance security for troops at home, including potentially arming more personnel.   Business: DOD weighs supplier base,...
 
 

News Briefs July 31, 2015

U.S. delivering eight newer F-16 warplanes to Egypt The United States Embassy in Cairo says the U.S. is delivering eight newer F-16 warplanes to Egypt as part of an ongoing military support package. It says in a July 30 statement that the aircraft, of the current Block 52 production variant, will be flown in from...
 
 
Lockheed Martin photograph

Lockheed Martin successfully tests design changes for Orion spacecraft’s fairing separation system

Lockheed Martin photograph A protective panel for Orion’s service module is jettisoned during testing at Lockheed Martin’s Sunnyvale, California facility. This test series evaluated design changes to the spacecraft’s fair...
 

 

Australian company to provide parts for initial production of Triton UAS

Northrop Grumman has awarded the first Australian supplier contract for the U.S. Navy’s MQ-4C Triton unmanned aircraft system initial production lot to Ferra Engineering. Brisbane-based Ferra Engineering will manufacture mechanical sub-assemblies for the first four Triton air vehicles including structural components. “At Northrop Grumman it’s very important to not only develop...
 
 
Boeing photograph

CH-46 ‘Phrog’ makes its last hop

Boeing photograph The CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter commonly known as the “Phrog,” is set to retire and to be flown one last time by Reserve Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron (HMM) 774 on Aug. 1. The CH-46 Sea Knight is a med...
 
 

Insitu awarded LRIP Lot IV RQ-21A Blackjack Systems contract

Under the terms of its latest contract, Insitu will build six RQ-21A Blackjack systems for the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps. The $78-million Small Tactical Unmanned Aircraft Systems Lot IV Low Rate Initial Production contract is the latest event in the program’s progression toward the Initial Operational Test and Evaluation phase.   “This award will...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>