Proposed Republican budget cuts everything but defense spending; Polis says cutting troop numbers in Europe could save $378 million
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Instead of cutting already emaciated public lands and environmental budgets, Congressman Jared Polis says his budget amendment to cut American troop strength in Europe could have trimmed $278 million in spending.
But House Republicans, who would rather slash EPA funding, defeated the measure last week.
The Polis amendment would have reduced the American troop count in Europe from more than 80,000 to 35,000 and cut overall troop size 7,500 troops in the next six months.
“If we are serious about deficit reduction, then we need to get our ballooning defense budget under control,” said Polis. “My amendment would save hundreds of millions of dollars by getting most of the 80,000 troops out of Europe where they are no longer wanted or needed. We are no longer guarding against the Nazis or the Soviets. If we are to seriously tackle the budget deficit, we must find savings in every agency, including the Department of Defense, and reducing our military presence in Europe is the perfect place to start.”
The House of Representatives will vote this week on H.R. 1, the Full Year Continuing Appropriations Act, to fund federal government operations for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2011. This Republican legislation makes draconian cuts to virtually every sector of the federal government, except for the Defense Department.
“Our European allies are some of the richest countries in the world,” said Polis. “Why then are we subsidizing their defense spending? There is no reason for us to continue European defense spending while we every other aspect of our government is being severely cut.If Europe has made the decision that it can afford to spend less on defense and still feel secure, then we should be confident that we can spend less on their defense as well.”
Polis’ amendment would have limited the number of American troops stationed in Europe to 35,000. It also cuts 7,500 from the overall troop level over the next six months, as part of a two-year reduction of 30,000 troops, saving taxpayers $278 million according to the Congressional Budget Office.
These provisions are line with the recommendations of the Sustainable Defense Task Force report sponsored by Rep. Barney Frank (D-Massachusetts) and Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon).
Filed under: Colorado, federal government Tagged: | balanced budget, Barney Frank, Congressional Budget Office, Congressman Jared Polis, federal budget deficit, Military budget, Ron Paul, Ron Wyden, Summit County News, United States, US defense spending