House Republican Policy Committee Chairman Tom Price, M.D. (R-GA) issued the following statement as the House Budget Committee held a hearing on the Department of Defense and the Fiscal year 2013 Budget. Secretary of the Department of Defense Leon Panetta, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsy, and Under Secretary of the Department of Defense Robert Hale testified at the hearing.
"It is the principal responsibility of the federal government to provide for the common defense and to ensure those putting themselves in harm's way to defend America have what they need to get the job done," said Chairman Price. "As lawmakers, we have an obligation to make tough decisions about how we budget for defense, both in properly choosing priorities within the defense budget and in making sure we have the capability to protect and defend our nation now and in the future. Our military men and women are counting on us to do right by them and their families and not undermine our national defense even as we face a debt crisis.
"The president's latest budget proposal fails to address our debt in a serious, substantive manner. The president's proposal -- while cutting the nation's defense budget -- continues to avoid responsibly addressing the rise in health care spending at the federal level that is endangering our country's fiscal and national security and putting the future health of seniors in jeopardy. We have to address the defense budget and prioritize in line with our strategic needs. We have to simultaneously solve the underlying debt issue that threatens our national security as well as our economic future and do so without damaging our military's capability and readiness. It is not a matter of can we do this but when will we do this, and House Republicans believe the time is now. We will continue to put forth budgets and proposals to address the looming debt crisis so that those defending this nation around the world will not see their efforts made all the more difficult by reckless fiscal policies here at home."