Tags: Barack Obama | War on Terrorism | military | spending | budget | caps

Obama and GOP Favor More Money for Troops, But at Odds on How

Image: Obama and GOP Favor More Money for Troops, But at Odds on How
(Luke Sharrett/Getty Images)

By    |   Monday, 02 Feb 2015 07:43 AM

The president and GOP lawmakers agree that military spending should increase in the 2016 budget, but they are likely to disagree on where and  how they will find the additional funds, The Washington Post reported.

The debate comes as the president prepares to release Monday a $4 trillion budget plan that is expected to raise taxes on the rich and combat wage stagnation for the middle class with new spending and tax credits.

"There's broad consensus in both parties that the military needs more money to modernize its forces and meet its responsibilities in a world that seems to have grown more chaotic and dangerous in the past 12 months," the Post said.

Spending caps under sequestration have been in place since 2013 at a time when the global threats have been on the rise, such as the Islamic State, the Russian-based insurrection in Ukraine, and the collapse of the government in Yemen.

"The global security environment is more dangerous, and sequestration is still on the books as the law," Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said last week, according to the Post. "It's absolutely crazy for this country."

Democrats will be concerned about avoiding a reputation for being weak on defense going into the 2016 election cycle, particularly given that the administration's ratings by the public on its handling of national security matters has been weak.

"A lot of Republicans see opportunity in an election that's a referendum on Obama's foreign policy," Danielle Pletka, vice president for foreign and defense policy studies at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, told the Post.

Republicans have shown little appetite to raise taxes to cover the costs of a bigger military budget, but the White House is also not likely to boost defense spending at the expense of domestic programs, the Post reported.

"It looks like the administration is trying, but I don’t think the fundamentals are there for a compromise," Kathleen Hicks, who served as a top official in the Pentagon under Obama and now is a senior vice president at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told the Post.

But improvements in the economy may be the opening to bring both parties to the bargaining table.

"They'll have to move to the center" on defense spending, Hicks said. "And I do think world events are pushing them in that direction."

Pentagon officials have been arguing against spending constraints for years, and continue to worry that lawmakers will not adequately address the problem despite the public commitments to boost spending, the Post said.

"At what point do we lose our soldiers' trust, the trust that we will provide them the right resources, the training and equipment?" Gen. Ray Odierno, Army chief of staff, told the Post.

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The president and GOP lawmakers agree that military spending should increase in the 2016 budget, but they are likely to disagree on where and how they will find the additional funds, The Washington Post reported.
military, spending, budget, caps
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2015-43-02
Monday, 02 Feb 2015 07:43 AM
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