Smith Statement on Defense Budget Request

Washington, D.C. – Today, House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Adam Smith (D-WA) made the following statement about the President’s defense budget request:

“President Trump has not done his duty to the public in assembling this defense budget request.

“Even though his request would violate the Budget Control Act, the President has presented no plan to solve this problem through the repeal of sequestration, despite his party controlling both houses of Congress and the Presidency. His budget omits long-term planning assumptions that are needed to make sober and strategic choices about national security. He continues to provide poorly substantiated justifications for an unaffordable, unnecessary nuclear weapons build-out. Despite having extra time to prepare because he delivered the budget some three months later than legally required, the President has not given us a solid document on which one can plan for the national defense.

“Moreover, this budget request utterly fails the American people by calling for inconceivably large cuts to domestic programs that keep our country strong, in order to fund massive tax cuts to the wealthy. We will not be safer if we cut programs that keep our population healthy, educated, and prepared to serve in the military. We will not be safer if we kneecap our citizens’ chances for broad-based economic opportunity by cutting basic research, CDC and NIH funding, and the safety net. We will not be safer if we de-fund diplomacy and development, which are often the least expensive methods of achieving our national security objectives. By doing so, we would end up with fewer allies and larger problems in all the places that we fight.

“Failing to present a coherent budget in this way is disrespectful to our men and women in uniform, to the public, and to taxpayers. They do not expect the President—whose first job should be to protect the country—to play budgetary games with our national security. I hope that we can improve on the manifest defects of President Trump’s request as we draft this year’s National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).”