Senators to Pentagon: No Troop Cuts Till 2013 Budget
Senators of both parties from the Senate Armed Services Committee are telling the Department of Defense not to cut troops just yet:
Senate Armed Services Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and ranking member John McCain (R-Ariz.) wrote a letter to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta Monday urging the Pentagon not to reduce forces until the congressional committees have authorized the 2013 Defense budget.
The senators wrote “it has become clear” that the Pentagon plans to start making moves for the 2013 budget in the current fiscal year, before the congressional committees have been able to tackle the 2013 Defense budget request.
“We request that you not take actions to implement decisions that would be difficult or impossible to reverse by anticipating congressional approval of what may turn out to be very contentious proposals before the committees have had an opportunity to produce bills reflecting their responses to the fiscal year 2013 budget request,” the senators wrote.
This is likely largely a turf war, with the Senate wanting to make sure that DoD is aware that Congress, not the Pentagon, sets the military budget. With Senator Levin’s past support for closing bases and cutting troops, this might even be an attempt by the Dems to make deeper cuts than even Secretary Panetta wants. Whether or not famous “maverick” McCain would sign on to that is another question.