Romney calls on Obama to block $600B in defense cuts

Mitt Romney on Sunday called for President Obama to halt the $600 billion in automatic cuts aimed at the Defense department as a consequence of the failed debt supercommittee.

"I’m calling on the president to say no way for those cuts, restore the $600 billion into the military and take that amount and eliminate it from other programs," Romney told New Hampshire's WMUR on Sunday's "CloseUP" segment.

"And I’d like to see the president put out a series of programs he would actually eliminate or cut," he continued. "So far all we've seen from this president is a willingness to cut national defense and there have to be some recognitions across Washington that suggest no, no, there are other places that we can reduce federal spending.”

ADVERTISEMENT
The failure of the supercommittee to reach an agreement last week triggered $1.2 trillion in automatic cuts set to hit the Defense department and other programs in 2013. Republicans, along with Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, have objected, claiming that cutting military funding would undermine national security. Romney has pledged to increase military spending as president.

Romney added his criticism to the Republican narrative that President Obama failed to lead in the supercommittee negotiations.

“You can't expect a bunch of cats to herd themselves, you have to have a leader. And the president did not involve himself in this process, which I find to be extraordinary," he said. "He's been out campaigning and blaming and going around the world. He apparently had no involvement whatsoever with the effort of this committee which I find to be absolutely extraordinary."

The White House last week said the supercommittee, appointed by Congress to negotiate a bipartisan deal to reduce the deficit as part of last summer's debt-ceiling crisis, knew upfront what the president proposed for cutting the deficit. Obama last week doubled-down in putting the responsibility back on Congress to act on his proposals or make a deal and said he would veto any attempts to circumvent the automatic cuts.