Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Congress, Pentagon Will Have to Agree to Disagree on Budget Issues - Blog

Congress, Pentagon Will Have to Agree to Disagree on Budget Issues - Blog: Just two weeks before the Obama administration submits its budget proposal to Congress for fiscal year 2016, at least on the defense side, the battle lines have been drawn.

The Pentagon can forget scrapping the A-10 attack aircraft, taking warships out of service or closing any more military bases in the United States. The military, too, will have to keep funding the remanufacturing of main battle tanks and continue to buy other hardware it says it doesn’t need.

“Sometimes their priorities are just plain wrong,” said Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee.

Thornberry said he respects the difficult job of Defense Department leaders who have to make “tough choices” following five years of steep budget cuts. But Congress, he said, is not going to rubber stamp any budgets and will put its foot down on any proposals to “give things away” that might be needed in the future, including aging hardware that the military says it can’t afford to maintain.

The Pentagon should be reminded that Congress has a constitutional authority to determine the “size, shape and soul of the military,” Thornberry said Jan. 20 at the American Enterprise Institute. “It’s not clear that everyone understands our constitutional system. Congress is sometimes criticized for exercising its proper role in defense.”