Defense Officials Speak Out Against Possible Budget Cuts

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( – According to The Hill, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley pushed back against the idea of Congress making cuts to the Pentagon’s budget for the year, pointing out that such a move could harm the U.S.’s national security and make it harder to fight in wars.

In recent public remarks on the topic of budget cuts, the defense chiefs expressed opposition to an agreement that House Republicans had come to in early 2023 which would introduce a new cap on discretionary spending. This has caused a lot of concerns about the possibility of defense spending cuts, The Hill reports.

Milley reportedly addressed Congress during a House Appropriations Committee hearing, saying that if budget cuts were passed, then there would need to be cut in many programs. Specifically, he spoke about cuts in programs that are meant to help boost artillery production and shipbuilding. He added that spending cuts would also reduce the military’s readiness as the training would need to be “reduced significantly.” He added that in the long term, it means that everything they have managed to achieve in the past few years would not be pushed back.

Meanwhile, Austin expressed his belief that any defense cuts would have a negative impact on the civilian workforce and cybersecurity efforts. He said that “talented people” were necessary for the Defense Department to continue doing its work.

Currently, House Republicans and the White House are in the middle of a disagreement regarding raising the debt ceiling, with Republicans wanting any increase to be accompanied by a reduction of the national debt.

Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) in January sided with conservative lawmakers who wanted to stop discretionary spending beyond fiscal 2022 levels. However, some GOP members are against defense spending cuts and would prefer to see bigger cuts that aren’t in defense areas. As of March 30, Kevin McCarthy explained to journalists that House GOP members were in the final stages of preparing a bill to increase the debt ceiling and introduce cuts.

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