Smith Says Congress Should Suck it Up

The White House, Congress, and the Pentagon are on different pages when it comes to military spending, and if something doesn’t change soon military readiness will suffer, said Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee. Speaking at a Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments-sponsored event on Capitol Hill Thursday, Smith said the assumptions made in the 2012 Defense Strategic Guidance, which underpins the White House’s Fiscal 2015 budget, are no longer operable thanks to the Budget Control Act. The Obama Administration asked Congress to fill the gap, but so far it is not budging, said Smith. Specifically, he noted that Congress has not moved to take the $26 billion in additional funding included in the Opportunity Growth and Security initiative, introduced in the Fiscal 2015 budget to buttress defense spending. At the same time, HASC is scrambling to find $700 million to continue funding the Navy’s 11th aircraft carrier, while also trying to find some $400 million to save the A-10 this year (against the services’ wishes). “We are fighting every one of these cuts,” Smith said. Instead, Congress should just acknowledge that sequestration is here to stay and see what it can do to protect readiness and modernization. “I think we need to embrace these ideas” rather than fight them, Smith said, otherwise the “hollow force” nobody wants will become a reality.