U.S. Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) issued the following statement on President Obama's defense budget request released today:
"We are deeply disappointed that in his defense budget released today, the president failed to put forward any serious proposal to avoid the looming defense cuts of approximately $600 billion that his own civilian and military leaders have said would be "devastating' to our national security.
"The Defense Department is already planning some $487 billion in defense cuts over the next ten years. These proposed cuts will be painful, and we join our colleagues in scrutinizing them carefully.
"Based on the budget released today, it is clear that neither the Defense Department nor the Obama Administration have made any serious plans to avoid the additional defense cuts of approximately $600 billion triggered by the failure of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction last year. Every military and civilian defense official has said these draconian cuts represent a threat to our national security, and must not occur.
"President Obama's own Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta, said these cuts "would do catastrophic damage to our military, hollowing out the force and degrading its ability to protect the country.' General Martin Dempsey, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said these cuts would represent "self-inflicted wounds to our nation's security,' and the Army Chief of Staff, General Ray Odierno, said such cuts "would significantly reduce our capability and capacity to assure our partners abroad, respond to crises, and deter our potential adversaries.'
"Despite these strong warnings, President Obama today failed to offer any serious plan to avoid them in his new budget, and has inexplicably vowed to veto any effort aimed at preventing the cuts that does not raise taxes.
"It is past time for the president to stop leading from behind and step up, heed the words of the military and civilian defense leaders that he appointed, and work with us avoid these defense cuts that threaten America's national security."