Republicans slam Obama on new defense budget

"Historically, Congress and the White House have both proven to be poor judges of where and how we will have to fight to preserve our liberty. What we can say with certainty is that the fight will come," House Armed Services Committee chief Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) said in a statement issued Wednesday. 

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With the $100 billion to the Pentagon budget set to hit over the next decade "the president has decided that a future generation of Americans won't have what they need on that day," McKeon said. 

The Pentagon's $526.6 billion baseline budget for fiscal year 2014 sent to Congress on Wednesday represents a slight reduction from the Pentagon’s plans last year for $534 billion in 2013. 

The budget achieves $13.7 billion in savings over five years through weapons terminations and restructuring, coupled with a new round of base closures, increases in military healthcare fees and a reduction of the annual pay increase for service members to hit that $100 billion mark. 

While the defense cuts in the fiscal year 2014 plan are designed to curb long-term defense costs and reverse across-the-board Department of Defense reductions under Obama's sequestration plan, all but guarantees a budget fight between defense lawmakers and the White House.

"Not surprisingly this budget fails to even ... propose a plan that can actually pass Congress to replace these unacceptable cuts," Senate Armed Services Ranking Member Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) said. 

This "unfortunate history of saddling the men and women of our military with disproportionate and illogical budget cuts" undercuts the Pentagon's ability to deal with looming national security threats around the world, he added. 

Inhofe vowed to carry out a "meaningful discussion" on the various national security pitfalls in the Pentagon's budget plan when Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey defend the plan before the Senate panel. 

Hagel and Dempsey are slated to testify before the House defense panel on the administration's budget plan for the Pentagon on Thursday. 

Specifically, the United States risks losing its military superiority to nations like China, Iran and North Korea due to cuts to the Pentagon's research and development coffers in the president's proposal, House Armed Services member Rep. Randy Forbes (R-Va.) added.  

"While competitors continue to invest in modernizing their military capabilities, this budget chooses to under-invest in defense research and development to keep our ... technological edge of the modern battlefield," according to the Virginia Republican. 

"The decisions we make now will impact our military’s capabilities for decades to come," Forbes said. "The American people will have reason to question this administration’s seriousness on national security."

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