House Votes to Increase Military Spending; Mitt Romney Says He Doesn't Remember Bullying Fellow Student In High School

05/11/12 Robert Lorei
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Good morning, welcome to Radioactivity. I’m Rob Lorei. There’s a debate in Congress about military spending. We’ll talk about that and we'll talk about Mitt Romney's comments about the Washington Post report saying he bullied a fellow student while in boarding school.

But first- two listener comments about yesterday’s program—on which we heard listeners' reaction to President Obama’s coming out in support of gay marriage. Here’s what two listeners had to say.

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The Associated Press is reporting that in Washington- the House Armed Services Committee overwhelmingly backed a $642 billion defense bill yesterday that calls for construction of a missile defense site on the East Coast, restores aircraft and ships slated for early retirement, and ignores the Pentagon’s cost-saving request for another round of domestic base closings.

Despite the clamor for fiscal discipline, the committee crafted a military spending blueprint that’s $8 billion more than the level President Obama and congressional Republicans agreed to last summer in the deficit-cutting law. The panel vote was 56-5.

Hours after the vote, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Army General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the panel’s additions ignored the careful strategic review that was the basis for the 2013 budget proposal. They warned that if the Pentagon is prevented from retiring aging ships and aircraft or reducing the size of the force, it might have to cut training or equipment.

“If members try to restore their favorite programs without regard to an overall strategy, the cuts will have to come from areas that could impact overall readiness.’’ Panetta told reporters. “There is no free lunch here. Every dollar that is added will have to be offset by cuts in national security.’’

Representative Howard “Buck’’ McKeon, Republican of California, who is chairman of the committee, said in a statement that the legislation meets his goal of “keeping faith with American’s men and women in uniform; restoring fiscal sanity to a defense budget that is inconsistent with the threats America faces; and rebuilding a force after a decade of war.’’

John Feffer is co-director of Foreign Policy in Focus, a project of the Institute for Policy Studies. His website is: www.johnfeffer.com

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