In remarks to a meeting of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, President Obama once again avoided all responsibility for automatic defense cuts whose devastating effects are beginning to be felt around the country and throughout America's Armed Forces. Speaking to the VFW, President Obama said, "There's no reason that should happen because people in Congress ought to be able to come together and agree on a plan, a balanced approach that reduces the deficit and keeps our military strong. It should be done." Congressman Howard P. "Buck" McKeon (R-CA) reacted to the President's remarks:
"The Commander-in-Chief has an obligation to the men and women under his command. He owes them the resources and certainty they need to complete the missions he has ordered them to do. President Obama played no small part in setting the time bomb that is sequestration. Indeed, automatic defense cuts were included in the Budget Control Act at his insistence. Now he owes our troops his best efforts to defuse the cuts. Ultimatums from the campaign trail are not enough. House Republicans have set forth a balanced plan that pays for the first year of automatic cuts to both defense and non-defense sectors by addressing the true drivers of our debt; mandatory spending. The President and Senator Reid are the only parties who still refuse to come to the table. The President has a choice in how he deals with this crisis. He can begin to treat our troops as heroes, or he can continue to use them as leverage."