At Foreign Policy, Josh Rogin reports:
Florida Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), the incoming chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, isn’t wasting any time in pressing for deep cuts to the State Department and U.S. foreign operations around the world.
Ros-Lehtinen, in a statement today laying out her agenda, also criticized the Obama administration’s decision to join the U.N. Human Rights Council, called for the government to use its contributions to international organizations as leverage to force changes at the United Nations, and advocated for stronger action against “rogue states.”
Her primary mission, though? Finding savings in the budgets that her committee will be authorizing.
“In November, the voters made it clear that if we don’t take the correct approach to policy by keeping our economy foremost in our decisions, they’re going to ship us all out,” she said. “Republicans got the message and are committed to making ‘the people’s House’ work for the people again. As Chairman of this Committee, I will work to restore fiscal discipline to foreign affairs, reform troubled programs and organizations, exercise vigorous oversight to identify waste, fraud, and abuse, and counter the threats posed to our nation by rogue states and violent extremists.”
Ros-Lehtinen doesn’t actually dole out the funds for the State Department and the foreign operations budgets. That’s the job of the House Appropriations State and Foreign Ops subcommittee. But as we’ve reported, the likely incoming chairwoman of that panel, Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX) is of a similar mind as Ros-Lehtinen.
Contrast that with this Defense News item:
The House Republican Conference today ratified U.S. Rep. Howard P. “Buck” McKeon, R-Calif., as the next chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Armed Services. McKeon, currently the committee’s ranking member, will assume the chairmanship when the 112th Congress convenes in January.
In public statements in recent weeks, McKeon has vowed to fight attempts to cut U.S. military spending.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates has said the White House has promised to swell the Pentagon budget by 1 percent over five years, but that 2 percent to 3 percent over that span is needed to build the needed force.
At a November forum, McKeon said he agreed.
That level of yearly “growth in the department’s top line is insufficient to address the future capabilities required by our military,” he said at the forum. “One percent real growth in the defense budget over the next five years is a net cut for investment and procurement accounts.”
The alluded-to forum was held by the Foreign Policy Initiative, which has joined the American Enterprise Institute and the Heritage Foundation in pushback against calls for defense cuts. A summary, transcript, and video of the McKeon appearance is here.