Republican congressmen are furious with the White House for deciding to make funding for the war in Afghanistan part of the automatic defense spending cuts scheduled to begin next year.
Obama administration officials say the law requires that the $600 billion in spending reductions over the next decade include war funding. But House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon, R-Calif., doesn’t see it that way. "I am disappointed the president has made this choice, since there is no clear mandate for it in the law,” he said in a statement, The Hill
“Of course now, more than ever it is the troops on the front lines in Afghanistan who will bear the brunt of sequestration [spending cuts]. If our forces on the front line are truly going to have to do with less body armor, fewer medevacs, and less ammunition, he owes it to them to offer a credible way out of the pending disaster.”
The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) says there is nothing it can do, because the law authorizing the spending cuts didn’t provide an exemption for war funding. “The question really is, was there anything in the statute that provides an exemption for the OCO [war] funding, and we couldn’t find anything,” an OMB official told The Hill.
The automatic spending cuts come from last year’s debt ceiling deal. That deal authorized a congressional supercommittee on deficit reduction. When the supercommittee failed to reach an agreement last November, the spending reductions were triggered.
GOP congressional aides say the Budget and Control Act has vague language when it comes to whether war spending would suffer under the cuts. And the Pentagon initially said the cuts wouldn’t affect war funding.
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