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Sunday, July 31, 2011
Hirono, Hanabusa, Inouye, Akaka line up behind Massive Military Cuts
By Andrew Walden @ 8:31 AM :: 6536 Views :: Energy, Environment, National News, Ethics

by Andrew Walden

Defense spending is 18% of Hawaii’s economy.

Former Secretary of Defense Gates says North Korea will soon have missiles capable of hitting Hawaii with an atomic bomb.

Hawaii was the target of a 1982 terrorist attack organized by Saddam Hussein and one of the intended targets of al-Qaeda’s failed 1994 Operation Bojinka attacks.

But before Congressional Republicans worked out a final debt reduction deal Sunday night, Hawaii’s congressional delegation embraced the massive defense cuts contained in Senator Harry Reid’s (D-NV) budget plan—the Democratic answer to the earlier budget cutting plan put forward by Republican House Speaker John Boehner.

Rejecting Boehner’s budget-cutting proposal, Senator Inouye said: “We're going to defeat it and offer our version."

Their version was Reid’s version.

Quoted in the Star-Advertiser, the other three members of Hawaii’s Congressional delegation followed along:

"We need to pass a responsible, bipartisan plan that helps reduce our deficit, creates jobs and promotes our economic growth," said Democratic U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa.

Hirono said the Boehner plan cut too deep into social service programs and did not represent a true compromise.

"It didn't represent the kind of compromise that I know the people of Hawaii want," Hirono said shortly after the vote.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid had a measure to raise the debt limit by $2.4 trillion, enough to meet Obama's terms that it tide the Treasury over until 2013.

Reid's plan demonstrated a "longer-term fix," Akaka said.

Both Inouye and Akaka voted for Reid’s plan today in the Senate as the bill went down to defeat 50-49 under rules that require 60 votes for passage.

Unlike other Democrat budget plans, Reid’s does not feature tax increases. It instead relies entirely on cuts to defense spending. Outlining what’s in the Reid bill, the Weekly Standard explains:

House Republicans held a press conference in the Capitol Saturday to denounce what they called dangerous cuts to defense spending in Senator Harry Reid's debt limit bill. Buck McKeon (R, Calif.), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, warned that Reid's bill would cut defense by more than $400 billion beyond Boehner's plan over 10 years. "If Senator Reid's plan passes--if we stand idly by while this administration spends down its domestic spending spree with the blood and sweat of our troops--our military will break," McKeon said. "The Army and Marines are stretched dangerously thin, separated from their families, and using hardware that has been chewed up by a decade of fighting."

Rep. Randy Forbes (R, Va.) said that Reid's bill would result in a dangerous reduction in both hardware and military personnel. "If we look at the Marine Corps they've said specifically they cannot meet the needs of the combatant commanders now," Forbes said. "If they have to make these cuts it'll have to come out of personnel, and they'll have to reduce their force structure, and they'll have to have a new strategy for how they defend the United States of America."

The most powerful rebuke of Reid's plan came from Lt. Colonel Allen West (R, Fla.). The Tea Partier and Iraq war veteran said he's not opposed to all defense cuts and even chastised the president for wasting tax dollars on Libya. But he called the Reid bill's cuts "incredible" and "unconscionable."

"There are places where we can cut the defense budget, but it's not about wholesale cuts," he said. We need to identify wasteful programs "instead of these across the board major cuts."…

"It reminded me of a time when I deployed to Iraq in 2003 and we did not have enough body armor so I had to lend my body armor to my driver. Thank God when he got shot in the chest he had the right type of body armor that ricocheted that bullet off into his arm."

"I am not going to turn my back on the men and women" in uniform today, said West.

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