Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign said Saturday that the plan laid out by the White House this week on where exactly it will have to cut spending to adhere to the bipartisan debt deal hashed out by members of Congress last year would “devastate” the nation both at home here and overseas.
“President Obama’s report on sequestration confirmed what we’ve known for months — his defense cuts will devastate our national security and jeopardize jobs across the country,” said Ryan Williams, Romney campaign spokesman. “Americans deserve real leadership from their president and an honest plan to spare the country from these catastrophic cuts. As president, Mitt Romney will never play politics with our defense budget.”
The Obama administration rolled out the details Friday showing how it would cut $109 billion from federal spending in January — mixing together $11.1 billion in cuts to Medicare spending with $54.7 billion in cuts to defense spending. Of the defense cuts, $21.5 billion of the reductions would come from operations and maintenance for the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines and the Reserves of the National Guard.
It also would cut $1.4 billion from military assistance to Afghanistan and tens of billions of dollars from procurement and other Pentagon accounts.
“The report leaves no question that the sequestration would be deeply destructive to national security, domestic investments and core government functions,” the White House’s budget office said in the report.
Mr. Romney has made military spending a cornerstone of his campaign, pinning most of the blame for the impending cuts on Mr. Obama, although last week he said that his fellow Republicans — a group that includes his running mate Rep. Paul Ryan — made a mistake to agree to the automatic defense spending cuts in lieu of a broader debt deal.
Republicans and Democrats agreed last year to raise the nation’s borrowing limit and establish a committee that would be responsible for finding roughly $1 trillion in cuts spread out over domestic and defense spending. The committee failed, triggering the “sequesters” as they are known in budget-speak, that were included in the legislation as a sort of safety mechanism, ensuring that some spending would be cut if lawmakers could not agree on a deal.