Republicans on the House Armed Services Committee criticized plans by House Democrats - highlighted in recent comments by House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-MA) - to cut funding for defense by 25 percent and increase taxes on families and small businesses. It follows plans Democratic leaders have already announced to push up to $300 billon in more spending on government programs masquerading as "economic stimulus." A host of House Republicans weighed in today:
* Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA), Ranking Republican: "The Democratic leadership has given us a preview of the gutting of national security that would take place under a Democrat presidency. This should give an incentive to every American to ensure that this left-wing assault on America's national defense, which would be disastrous for America's troops, does not take place."
* Rep. John McHugh (R-NY), Ranking Republican on the Military Personnel Subcommittee: "It is staggering to me that a leader in the Democratic Party would come out and say we need to cut defense spending by 25 percent. In my opinion, it would be unconscionable to repeat the mistakes of the past on the back of nearly a decade of direct combat operations."
* Rep. Terry Everett (R-AL), Ranking Republican on the Strategic Forces Subcommittee: "To slash our nation's defense budget at any time would be foolish, but for liberals to ponder such draconian cuts when our country is at war with global terrorism and rogue nations are increasingly embolden to challenge our status in the world, is reckless and irresponsible."
* Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD), Ranking Republican on the Seapower and Expeditionary Forces Subcommittee: "A 25 percent cut in defense spending will endanger our troops deployed in harm's way and America's national security for years to come. It's even more astonishing considering that Congressional Democratic leaders want to increase the deficit by spending twice as much, $300 billion, for a second stimulus package of domestic spending."
* Rep. Howard P. "Buck" McKeon (R-CA): "The move by Congressional Democrats to arbitrarily cut $150 billion from national defense spending is both dangerous and irresponsible, especially during a time of war. It sends a horrific message to our enemies and displays a lack of Congressional commitment to our military forces."
* Rep. Jeff Miller (R-FL): "These are dangerous and unprecedented times. We are at war with Islamic fundamentalists and face dangerous enemies abroad. Cutting defense spending at this critical time is one of the most irresponsible proposals I have heard."
* Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC): "In the face of our efforts to grow our forces and equip them for the challenges of the 21st century, it is downright irresponsible to drastically cut funding for our military - particularly at a time when our brave soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines are deployed in combat overseas."
* Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT): "We're still playing catch-up from the last time a Democrat-controlled Congress made the mistake of drastic cuts to defense spending, so it's absurd to even consider reducing support for our troops and national security right now."
* Rep. John Kline (R-MN): "With the increasing demands being placed on our armed forces, Congressman Frank's proposal to reduce defense spending by 25 percent represents the height of recklessness."
* Rep. Phil Gingrey, M.D. (R-GA): "Our military is still trying to recover from being shortchanged during the Clinton Administration, and while the economic challenges we face as a nation will undoubtedly require difficult decisions, rather than looking to cut wasteful spending and duplicative programs, Democrats are already lining up to whack the Department of Defense."
* Rep. Geoff Davis (R-KY): "At a time when our country is fighting two wars, the Democrats' proposed $150 billion defense spending cut would impose unnecessary risk upon our nation's service men and women."
* Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO): "To suggest cutting the U.S. defense budget by $150 billion, or one-fourth, is not only irresponsible but shows a blatant disregard for the defense of the United States and the safety of our brave men and women in uniform."
Rep. Frank's comments come on the heels of recent statements by other senior Democrats advocating for a reduction in the planned size of the Army and Marine Corps. In an October 2nd Congressional Quarterly article, Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa), the powerful chairman of the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee, said "[The Defense Department] is going to have to cut personnel in order to pay for procurement. . . . I don't know that they are going to be able to keep growing the Army." The Department of Defense has proposed - and Congress has enacted - bipartisan legislation to increase the size of the Army by 65,000 and the Marine Corps by 27,000 over the next five years.
Politico reported that House Republican John Boehner (R-OH) blasted Rep. Frank's comments for being "incredibly irresponsible":
"Chairman Frank's plans are not only wrong, but incredibly irresponsible," Boehner said in a statement. "Yet, they are just a taste of the extreme policies we'll be seeing in Washington if Democrats are given complete control."
"How can anyone defend raising taxes in the face of an economic slowdown or slashing defense spending the midst of two wars?"
While Democrats concentrate on tax hikes, House Republicans are pushing pro-growth, pro-jobs proposals that Boehner said will help America "turn the corner toward real economic growth." The GOP-backed reforms include giving American families real tax relief so they can keep more of their own hard-earned money; bringing American jobs back home by lowering the tax rate on profits that companies bring back to the United States; spurring economic growth and rebuilding 401(k) accounts by immediately and completely suspending the capital gains tax on individuals and corporations during the next two years; and creating jobs and reducing energy and food costs by enacting an "all of the above" energy plan. Instead of raising taxes and "spreading the wealth around" through $300 billon in more spending on government programs, we should provide tax relief to families to help with costs of living and to small businesses to help them create more jobs.