By Alex Katz
US Representative Barney Frank yesterday repeated his call for cutting annual military spending by more than $200 billion a year, which he insists would help reduce the federal budget deficit by trillions over the next decade.
Speaking at the progressive Take Back the American Dream Conference in Washington, Frank said the congressional supercommittee tasked with trimming the deficit by $1.5 trillion could accomplish more than its desired goal by focusing mostly on defense spending.
"The single biggest chunk of deficit reduction must come from scaling back our enormous military expenditures from where they are now to where our legitimate needs are," the Newton Democrat said.
Frank said the United States is financially overcommitted to defending "wealthy nations in Europe against a nonexistent threat," unlike the threats posed by the Nazis in World War II and the Soviet Union during the Cold War.
He also expressed his displeasure with the prospect of President Obama maintaining a US military presence in Iraq, saying that while he continues to strongly support the president, "that is wholly unacceptable and we must make that clear."
Frank has long pushed for cuts to defense spending, which accounts for about 23 percent of the federal budget. Last November, he even teamed up with Republican Representative Ron Paul of Texas -- who is now seeking his party's presidential nomination -- to propose dramatic reductions in US military bases overseas, among other things.
Many Democrats and even fiscally conservative Republicans traditionally view the Pentagon budget as untouchable. But with mounting pressure to reduce the deficit, both parties have begun seriously considering the notion of trimming military spending.