- ‘Tis the Season: London florist creates $4.6 million Christmas wreath
- No tailgating allowed at Super Bowl XLVIII
- Pentagon to transport African troops to Central African Republic
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend’s shopping jumps to his death
- Ukraine leader to talk with protesters; Washington urges caution
- Pope Francis: A nun saved my life
- Israeli P.M. Netanyahu backs out of Mandela funeral
- Elian Gonzalez makes first trip outside Cuba since custody battle
- U.S., British intelligence agents enter online sci-fi world to spy on gamers
- Sarah Palin to host the outdoors show ‘Amazing America’
Cabinet out in force on Hill to defend budgets, programs
Wednesday was a whirlwind day for the Obama administration on Capitol Hill.
In the Rayburn House Office Building, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates warned lawmakers against making excessive cuts to the military, while down the hall, Labor Secretary Hilda Solis made a pitch for job-training programs.
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius defended the administration’s health care law before a House panel, while across the Capitol, Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner told senators that the administration was willing to work with them on approving several stalled international trade agreements.
All told, six Cabinet members testified at seven congressional hearings, giving the White House a key opportunity to defend its polices two days after releasing its budget requests for the upcoming fiscal year.
In perhaps the day’s most anticipated hearing, Mr. Gates told the House Armed Services Committee that deeper spending cuts than those already proposed would pose a “crisis” to the military’s mission to maintain readiness and prepare for the future.
“We still live in a very dangerous and very unstable world,” Mr. Gates said. “Our military must remain strong and agile enough to face a diverse range of threats.”
The Pentagon this week rolled out a record base budget for the upcoming fiscal year of $553 billion, an increase of $22 billion from 2010 levels. Additional overseas war funding, however, is down $41.5 billion.
“We shrink from our global security responsibilities at our peril,” he said. “Retrenchment brought about by shortsighted cuts could well lead to costlier and more tragic consequences later, indeed, as they always have in the past.”
Mr. Gates said his department has been vigilant to cut waste and outdated projects in recent years, as reflected in a Pentagon plan released last month that calls for $78 billion in spending cuts over five years.
The defense secretary also told the panel that the administration wants more military personnel in Iraq after 2011 than the 150 or so scheduled to remain. The rest of the U.S. force, which is about 47,000, is leaving under a 2008 agreement with the Iraqi government. Mr. Gates said the pullout will proceed unless the Iraqis ask the U.S. to stay.
“The truth of the matter is, the Iraqis are going to have some problems that they’re going to have to deal with if we are not there in some numbers,” he said.
“But it’s their country. It’s a sovereign country,” he said. “And we will abide by the agreement unless the Iraqis ask us to have additional people there.”
“We’d like to pass all of them, alongside trade-adjustment assistance, and we want to do it this year,” he told the Senate Finance Committee.
The secretary said that if the trade agreements aren’t approved, U.S. “business just goes to other countries.”
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Sean Lengell covers Congress and national politics and can be reached at email@example.com.
- GOP tests Democrats on college loan issue
- Lawmakers outside intelligence loop get miffed about briefing structure in Congress
- John Boehner: Time is right to bring latest farm bill to House floor
- Supreme Court nears rulings on key voting rights cases
- John Boehner demands answers on NSA, phone records
Latest Blog Entries
By Brahma Chellaney
Beijing's creeping aggression signals a challenge to U.S. presence in the Asian Pacific
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend's shopping jumps to his death
- CURL: Obama tells a whopper on IRS scandal
- MILLER: Brady Campaign says Colorado recalls due to NRA, not grassroots opposition to gun control
- WOLF: The president's other Obamacare lies
- Lawmakers see 'false narrative' of Obama as a terrorist fighter
- Ted Cruz sees legal landmines ahead for Obamacare
- Obama lied about Syrian chemical attack, 'cherry-picked' intelligence: report
- MSNBC host: Obamacare a 'wealthy white men' racist word
- Satanists petition for statue at Oklahoma Statehouse
- Bill OReilly reminds: Nelson Mandela was a communist
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Richard Ivory, editor-in-chief of Hip Hop Republicans and HHR at Communities Digital News, turns his interests, and pen, to the people making news today.
Find the latest news and happening that effect those in the Washington D.C., Northern Virginia and Maryland Metro region.
The world impacts us. What happens in our towns, cities, states, country and on this planet makes a difference to us.
Happiness is attainable. Morning to night. I love to teach, deal with folks that have an issue and really wish to tackle it and write.
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow