Obama Asks For More Military Spending At Pentagon Visit

Posted: October 26, 2014 in U.S. News Other

SOURCE: http://www.politico.com/story/2014/10/president-obama-pentagon-sequestration-111711.html


At Pentagon, Obama urges sequestration deal
President Barack Obama sits next to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. | AP Photo

President Barack Obama used a visit to the Pentagon on Wednesday to renew his call for Congress to free the military from what he called “draconian” budget strictures that would return next fiscal year under sequestration.

Washington 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,” Obama told reporters. “That we’re supporting their families at a time when, even after ending one war and winding down another, they continue to have enormous demands placed on them each and every day.”

The commander in chief went to the Pentagon for an update on national security from Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and other top Defense Department leaders.

In a brief statement to reporters, Obama called it a routine, “periodic check-in” that usually happens at the White House, but he thought now was a good time for me to come over to the Pentagon and have an opportunity to hear from our top military about the work that they’re doing.”

Presidential visits to the Pentagon like Wednesday’s are rare. And the president’s mention of sequestration also is rare. Obama has seldom spoken about it since last year’s budget compromise relaxed the spending limits for two years, but the automatic, across-the-board restrictions will return in fiscal 2016 unless Obama and Congress can agree on how to avert them.

The outlook on that from congressional defense advocates and the Pentagon’s big vendors has so far been bleak, with little optimism about the prospects for a deal to void or further stave off sequestration.

The issue looks certain to flare back up if Republicans take control of all of Congress in this fall’s midterm elections. Hawks are eager to try to force the president to back up his statements of support for the military with sequestration relief. But he has said defense budget relief must be tied to relief for non-defense spending, and that deadlock has persisted for years.

Obama also reiterated on Wednesday that the campaign he has ordered against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant in Iraq and Syria “is not going to be solved overnight.”

“The good news is, is that there is a broad-based consensus not just in the region but among nations of the world that ISIL is a threat to world peace, security and order, that their barbaric behavior has to be dealt with,” he said.

And he praised the U.S. troops who’ve begun to arrive in West Africa to help health officials fight the outbreak of Ebola. The latest are about 100 Marines and six of their aircraft, which are set to arrive in Liberia soon, the Pentagon said Wednesday.

“Our military is essentially building an infrastructure that does not exist in order to facilitate the transport of personnel and equipment and supplies to deal with this deadly epidemic and disease,” Obama said. “And we are doing it in a way that ensures our men and women in uniform are safe. That has been my top priority, and I’ve instructed folks we’re not going to compromise the health and safety of our armed services.”


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