Although some in Congress applauded Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ announcement that the Obama administration would be whittling down the defense budget for 2010, suffice it to say that not everyone is thrilled by this development—especially those whose districts will be directly impacted by the cuts.
During Gates’ announcement, a bipartisan group of senators released a letter urging him “not to allow deep cuts in U.S. missile defense programs that are critically important to protecting our homeland and our allies against the growing threat of ballistic missiles.”
“The threat from ballistic missiles is significant and on the rise. [It] has been underscored by Iran and North Korea’s recent missile tests,” they said.
Among others, the letter was signed by both senators from Alaska: Republican Lisa Murkowski and Democrat Mark Begich.
While Gates was initially appointed Pentagon chief by former President George W. Bush, his overall budget received what appeared to be a mixed reception from congressional Republicans.
“Republicans appreciate Secretary Gates’ effort to shape the Department of Defense so that we more effectively fight the wars our troops are engaged in today. However, we are concerned about the trade-offs involved in rebalancing the Department,” New York Rep. John McHugh, the ranking Republican on the House Armed Services Committee, said in a written statement.
“It remains the Congress’ responsibility to provide for the common defense,” he warned.
However, Sen. John McCain, the former Republican presidential candidate, said Gates’ budget “is a major step in the right direction.”
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