Lawmakers Offer Their Two Cents to Budget Deficit Committee

Leading congressional defense authorizers came out in one voice in calling on the leadership of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction to avoid recommending additional cuts to defense spending on top of the approximately $450 billion already put in place by the 2011 Budget Control Act. “We urge you to refrain from any further cuts in national defense,” wrote Rep. Buck McKeon (R-Calif.), House Armed Services Committee chairman, in an Oct. 14 letter (caution, large-sized file) signed by some 30 Republican committee members. Additional cuts “would pose a serious threat to the nation’s readiness to respond to current and future global security challenges,” warned the letter. HASC Ranking Member Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), in a separate letter, also asked the joint committee “to avoid cuts” to national defense accounts beyond the reductions already applied. “Further reductions could undermine national security,” he wrote in his Oct. 12 missive. Similarly, Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), Senate Armed Services Committee chairman, said he was “unable to recommend further discretionary cuts to DOD’s budget” in his letter, dated Oct. 14. More cuts “would be disastrous,” he wrote. (See also McKeon’s Wall Street Journal op-ed piece.)