WASHINGTON, D.C. —U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, released the following statement today about President Obama’s visit to the Pentagon Wednesday where he asked Congress to address the “draconian” budget cuts to the Department of Defense under sequestration:
"I’m glad President Obama visited the Pentagon yesterday to meet with our top military commanders. He should do it more often to see firsthand the courageous work our men and women in uniform are doing around the world each and every day. And while he is right that the ‘draconian’ budget cuts under sequestration are dangerous and that we must ‘make sure that if we’re asking this much of our armed forces, that they’ve got the equipment and the technology that’s necessary for them to be able to succeed at their mission,’ his record over the last six and half years tells a different story.
"What the President failed to tell our troops yesterday is that he is the principal architect of the ‘draconian’ cuts that have dismantled our military and devastated readiness. Soon after taking office, President Obama slashed $487 billion from our national security. He then put into motion another $500 billion in defense cuts through sequestration, which left 16 percent of the federal budget to carry the burden of 50 percent of the overall spending cuts. While the President likes to blame congress for this decision, Bob Woodward revealed in his research last year that sequestration was the idea of President Obama and his White House.
"The result of President Obama’s misguided spending priorities has undermined the ability of our troops to defend the country against the growing foreign policy crises that have come to be the hallmark of his Administration. Just in the last couple of years, the President has relied on our troops to support the pivot to Asia, reassure our European allies in the face of Russian aggression, successfully transition the mission in Afghanistan, conduct operations against ISIL in Iraq and Syria, and just recently committed up to 4,000 soldiers to support the response to the Ebola epidemic in West Africa.
"Every time President Obama mentions getting rid of defense sequestration, he ties it to higher taxes and more non-defense spending, which has seen an increase of 30 percent since President Obama took office. In 2012, when I tried to give the Obama Administration the flexibility to mitigate the impacts of sequestration on the defense department, the President issued a veto threat of my legislation because he didn’t want to confront hard, but necessary, budgeting decisions. Rather than rely on hollow rhetoric to please his liberal base and tired proposals that have no chance of becoming law, President Obama needs to finally come to Congress without preconditions to eliminate sequestration of our military.
"The President’s Pentagon visit was phony when viewed through the lens of his historically steep cuts to our national security. President Obama cannot continue to have it both ways. The President can’t on one hand continue to ask our military men and women to do it all while on the other hand slashing their funding and dismantling their ability to defend the nation and return home safely to their loved ones."