President Obama, a few hours later on Monday, answered McKeon’s pledge with a stern vow to veto any legislation that would void those automatic Defense cuts and an equal amount of domestic cuts.
The HASC chairman called the now-shuttered supercommittee’s inability to strike a deal “a failure.”
The $600 billion would be lopped on top of a $350 billion mandated by the August debt deal. The Pentagon says that first round of reductions would translate into a real-world reduction from spending over 10 years of $465 billion.
“I’m told it’s now $489 billion,” the chairman said.
A U.S. official confirmed the $489 billion figure in an email to The Hill.
McKeon used some recent developments to back up his contention that the nation cannot afford deeper Pentagon cuts, saying few would have on this past Jan. 1 predicted the uprisings in Egypt or Libya, or that North Korea would have sunk a South Korean ship.
The latter, he noted, brought a South Korean vow to respond with force if it happens again — something that could require sending American forces to help the South.
— Updated at 6:24 p.m.