* Mr. FRANK of Massachusetts. Mr. Speaker, I have been encouraged to see some signs that the mind set that would not only exclude the military budget from deficit reduction efforts but would in fact inflate an already excessive allocation has been weakening. Secretary Gates' statement on Thursday, January 6, of a recognition of many to take the deficit into account in budgeting for the Pentagon is encouraging, although he does not go far enough. I think that there is no issue more important than to recognize that reducing the extent to which America engages in an extremely expensive worldwide subsidy for many of our wealthy allies in the area of defense has contributed significantly to our deficit, and it is clear that we can substantially reduce military spending without in any way reducing the security of the United States.
* In November of last year, a wide-ranging group of people very knowledgeable about national security needs met. I am encouraged that the Commission recognized the importance of including military spending restraints, although I did not agree with their proposal to increase healthcare costs for retirees. And I believe that the thoughtful letter that they received from this wide-ranging coalition of experts on national security and military spending should be shared with our colleagues so I ask that it be printed here.
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