Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Republicans vow to block military spending cuts

Speaker of the US House of Representatives John Boehner (center) returns to his office after a media briefing in Washington, August 1, 2011.

Source: Press TV

US Republican legislators have vowed to kill a second round of military spending cuts over fears that it would threaten the country's defense infrastructure.

The Republican-dominated House of Representatives has warned that it will oppose a second round of almost $500 billion in military spending cuts, which would cut the defense budget by $350 billion over 10 years, Reuters reported.

The US House of Representatives passed a last-ditch bill on Monday, August 1, to raise the federal debt ceiling by up to $2.4 trillion, which also calls for slashing the country's deficit by $2 trillion over the next decade.

According to the White House, a second round of cuts will have to be introduced unless new legislation is passed that enforces spending reductions elsewhere.

With the prospects of the Pentagon facing a dramatic downsizing, the Republican lawmakers have voiced concerns that cuts in defense spending could spark a security crisis.

The deficit reduction deal threatens to "destroy our nation's defense infrastructure" at a time of growing insecurity, said Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, a member of the Armed Services Committee.

Representative Howard McKeon, Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, also added his voice, pointing out that "There is no scenario in the second phase of this proposal that does not turn a debt crisis into a national security crisis.”

However, Republican House Speaker John Boehner defended the bill, noting that cuts in military spending are inevitable.

US senior military officials had earlier warned that major cuts would require fundamental changes to US military strategy.

The US military budget accounts for approximately 40% of global arms spending and is over six times larger than the military budget of China, the second-greatest military spender in the world.

Washington has reportedly spent over $1 trillion since 2001 on its wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Recently a Press TV poll found that “ending wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya as well as reducing military spending” are the best ways for the US to reduce its 14-trillion-dollar-plus debt.

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