Washington: The top defense and budget leaders in the House of Representatives want the director of the Office of Management and Budget and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta to tell them more about the administration’s top-level defense review and clarification about just what will happen if the Super Congress can’t cut $1.2 trillion from the budget.
The heads of the House Appropriations defense subcommittee, the Armed Services Committee and the House Budget Committee made their wishes known in an Aug. 10 letter to Panetta and to OMB Director Jack Lew. Breaking Defense obtained a copy of the letter. It’s important to note that the letter precedes the Aug. 17 OMB guidance to government departments to prepare to cut 5 percent from their fiscal 2011 appropriations as they prepare their requests for fiscal 2013. “Unless your agency has been given explicit direction otherwise by OMB, your overall agency request for 2013 should be at least 5 percent below your 2011 enacted discretionary appropriation,” budget chief Jack Lew said in the memo released Thursday.
Reps. Buck McKeon, Bill Young and Paul Ryan tell Lew and Panetta say they are “troubled” by news reports that these cuts are being considered and request “clarification” about the budgetary implications.
The three senior House leaders also note that there are only two months left for Congress before fiscal 2012 begins so they want to know more about the defense review first announced by President Obama. So far, no one in the administration has released any details about the roles and missions review.
Finally, they say they want more detailed information about just what will be the national security implications if the Super Congress can’t agree on $1.2 trillion in cuts and the so-called “doomsday mechanism” is triggered requiring $500 billion more in defense cuts.