Mar 24 2009

President Obama's Budget Proposal 'Reckless” on National Defense

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), who serves on the Senate Budget Committee and Senate Armed Services Committee, criticized President Obama’s proposed budget and its affect on national security.  On Friday, Graham expressed concern about the Obama budget after a Congressional Budge Office analysis of the legislation showed it creating trillion dollar yearly deficits.

“I think the first job of any federal politician, particularly the President as Commander in Chief, is to secure the nation, “said Graham.  “This is not the time to go cheap on defense. The intelligence reports we receive show a growing threat from Iran, new engagements in Afghanistan; and a mission in Iraq that is not yet complete.  There is no peace dividend to be had until there is peace. 

Graham noted that over the last 20 years the average spending on national defense, as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has been about 4 percent.  When the supplemental spending bills covering operations in Iraq and Afghanistan are added it goes to about 4.5 percent this year.

The Obama budget proposes a reduction in defense spending so that by 2019 our nation only spends 3 percent of GDP on defense.

“When you try to figure out where a political leader really stands -- rhetoric versus reality -- one of the documents I would look at is the budget,” said Graham.  “If you asked a politician to write a budget, it would tell you a lot about what that political leader thought about where the country was and what priorities they would pursue.  Unfortunately, in the Obama budget, I think they've taken a very reckless view of national defense.”

“The interest on the national debt in 2019 will be $806 billion,” said Graham.  “Spending on national defense will be $720 billion.  Ten years from now, under this budget, we're going to spend more on interest on our national debt than we will be on our entire Defense Department.

“I hope the American people will understand that in this guns and butter debate that we've had for a long time in this country, that this budget is really heavy on butter and short on guns,” concluded Graham.