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Bridenstine: Obama Holding U.S. Military Hostage

We are inclined to agree with Rep. Jim Bridenstine’s point that Congress’s core constitutional responsibility is to provide for the common defense.  But the record of congressional Republicans on exercising oversight of the Pentagon and spending is thin at best. In agreeing with Bridenstine we are counting on him to push for the same kind of oversight of the Pentagon and military spending that Congress should exercise on other agencies of the federal government. Please join the debate and tell us what you think in the comments section below the article.

Rep. Jim Bridenstine OK-1

In an exclusive op-ed in Breitbart, principled limited government constitutional conservative Rep. Jim Bridenstine (OK-1) wrote that “I have watched President Obama do some really audacious things – from unconstitutionally granting amnesty to illegal aliens to unilaterally changing Obamacare over 30 times. I never thought he would hold the military hostage to regulatory and social welfare programs.”

The “hostage taking” to which Bridenstine refers is Obama’s threat to veto the recently passed 2016 Defense Appropriations bill, because Congress will not increase so-called “non-defense discretionary” spending dollar-for-dollar.  In support of Obama, and more spending, Senate Democrats are planning to filibuster every spending bill passed by the House.

Bridenstine then called on GOP Capitol Hill leaders to fight back, saying “House and Senate Republicans need to stand strong against this reckless bullying.”

Bridenstine’s call for Capitol Hill Republicans to stand against the President’s demand for more spending was prompted by Obama’s threat to veto the Defense Appropriations bill, which, Bridenstine noted, “is necessary to pay our troops, buy and maintain weapons and equipment, provide training, and support military operations. The bill funds national defense at the exact same levels requested by President Obama’s own FY16 budget request (about $577 billion).”

But part of the problem is Republicans did what Obama said he wanted, and now he wants more.

Said Bridenstine:

Putting the military in this situation is always bad, but is particularly reprehensible given the devastating cuts already imposed on national security. Even before he signed the Budget Control Act (BCA), the Obama Administration mandated $487 billion in cuts to national defense accounts. Combined with BCA-mandated caps and sequestration, the Obama Administration will have presided over a cut of $1 trillion from the military over 10 years. Defense accounts for less than 20% of federal spending, but has taken 50% of the BCA cuts. The military has taken far more than its fair share of cuts. Left unchecked, sequestration will continue to slash active duty and reserve component ground forces. We are headed to our smallest Navy since before World War I and our most antiquated Air Force ever.

In Jim Bridenstine’s analysis this “hostage taking” by Obama and the Democrats is particularly dangerous given the perilous state of the world today:

The Islamic State sits 70 miles from Baghdad. ISIS has expanded beyond Syria and Iraq into the Levant and North Africa. Iranian-backed militants largely control five Arab capitals. Vladimir Putin’s Russia ripped off a chunk off Ukraine and is threatening a nuclear war on… Denmark! China is claiming the South China Sea. North Korea continues to develop longer range and more sophisticated nuclear weapons. In each case, ensuring stability and deterring war requires American engagement, backed by credible military force. If we don’t project power, then instability and war become more likely, not less.

We have, contends Bridenstine, fully expended the “post-Cold War Dividend.”

We are inclined to agree with Bridnestine’s point that Congress’s core constitutional responsibility is to provide for the common defense.  But the record of congressional Republicans on exercising oversight of the Pentagon and spending is thin at best. Capitol Hill Republicans have become notorious for their obsequious devotion to the campaign dollars of the military-industrial complex and program funding is too often determined by who has the best lobbyist, not who has the best tank or plane. Republicans have also treated the Pentagon and military bases as local jobs programs instead of determining their utility in the national defense – another major failure of oversight and spending discipline.

We agree with principled limited government constitutional conservative Rep. Jim Bridenstine that national security is simply more important and a higher priority than funding the IRS, the EPA, and the National Endowment for the Arts – and in so agreeing we are counting on him to push for the same kind of oversight of the Pentagon and military spending that Congress should exercise on other agencies of the federal government.

Click the link to read Rep. Jim Bridenstine’s Breitbart op-ed “MAINTAINING U.S. MILITARY PREEMINENCE GLOBALLY,” and please tell us what you think in the comments below.

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