By Jeremy Herb
House Armed Services Chairman (R-Calif.) said that he would likely vote to authorize military strikes in Syria if President Obama would address sequestration cuts to the military.
McKeon said on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday that he and a number of defense hawks in the House might support the vote for military action in Syria if the military budget cuts under sequestration were reversed.
“If we can fix this, it may help some people in the vote,” McKeon said. “I could not guarantee that we could get votes for it, but I know a lot of people have the same concerns that I do.”
The support of GOP defense hawks like McKeon is an important step for the White House as it tries to corral enough votes to authorize military force, particularly as dozens of House Republicans are lining up against taking action in Syria.
“The other day, I was at meeting at the White House and the president came up to me and said, ‘I Know how concerned you are about sequestration. So am I,’” McKeon said. “So I asked Friday for a meeting with the president, and we’re waiting to hear back from the White House. I want to sit down and talk to him about this.”
Without a resolution for sequestration, McKeon sounded like he would vote against authorizing military strikes. Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), who appeared with him on “State of the Union,” also said the sequester was the issue that could convince her to change her mind on Syria.
“It’s immoral to continue to ask our men and women in the military to go out without the equipment the training the readiness,” Blackburn said.
McKeon argued that the basic problem is “asking the military to do more with less.”
The Obama administration has argued that the plans in Syria are would be a limited strike, and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel estimated the cost would be in the tens of millions.
The Pentagon hasn’t indicated how it would pay for military action but has said it may be possible without requesting supplemental funds.