Congress Wars: Battle for the defense budget
May 28th, 2012
02:00 AM ET

Congress Wars: Battle for the defense budget

By Mike Mount, Senior National Security Producer

In what is shaping up to be a classic congressional right vs. left fight over defense and war funding, both the House and Senate are gearing up to battle over some expected and not-so-expected items in the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act.

On Thursday, the Senate Armed Services Committee passed its version of the bill, showing its hand to members of the House of Representatives on what it felt should be authorized for military spending.

The act authorizes spending limits and sets defense policy, but it does not actually appropriate the funds.

The committee version must still pass a full Senate vote. The House signed off on its bill this month. While a date has yet to be announced, both the final House and Senate versions will go through extensive negotiations to hammer out a final version of the legislation, expected in the fall.

Both bills have numerous amendments that will be debated and fought over in the coming months. Keep an eye on these five if you like political fireworks.

Clash of the cash

The first battle will come as no surprise, as the House and Senate versions put out two totally different bottom lines for Pentagon funding. The Democrat-run Senate version, announced Thursday, gives the military $631.4 billion under the president's trimmed-down Pentagon budget. It received full bipartisan support with a unanimous vote to pass it out of the committee.

But the House version passed this month comes in at $642.5 billion. Although it does not seem to be much more than the Senate version, it is over the president's Pentagon budget request, and it triggered a veto threat by the White House.

The measure adds $4 billion to the Pentagon budget, which is already targeted for almost $500 billion in cuts over the next 10 years to help reduce the nation's deficit.

Missile mess

Within the House version is a hotly debated missile defense shield for the East Coast of the United States.

The bill obligates $100 million to plan for the system, which is to be fully established by 2015. The cost of the entire system will be well into the billions.

Proponents, like Rep. Michael Turner, R-Ohio, an ardent missile defense backer, say there is a need for the shield to protect against threats from Russia or Iran.

But House Democrats and Pentagon leaders who are against the plan say there is no threat to the eastern seaboard.

"Today's threats do not require an East Coast missile field, and we do not have plans to do so," Gen. Charles Jacoby, commander of U.S. Northern Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command, told Congress this year.

On Thursday, the Senate chose not to put money toward the plan and instead called for a study on the missile plan, which U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Massachusetts, called the "East Coast fantasy 'Star Wars' base."

Combat for all

Another key item to watch for is how both sides address an amendment in the Senate version that would allow women in the U.S. military to fight alongside their male counterparts on the front lines of war.

The provision, added to the bill last week by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-New York, orders the Pentagon to devise a plan to let women have an active combat role on the battlefield. As of now, the Pentagon bars women from joining the ranks of front-line combat troops.

Last week, the Pentagon announced that it was relaxing parts of the policy of barring women from direct combat positions. Gillibrand's provision would direct the Pentagon to develop plans to remove all of the regulations and open every combat position to female troops.

While the House National Defense Authorization Act does not have a similar provision, there is a separate bill pending in the House of Representatives that could be added to the final version of the bill when both sides come to the negotiating table.

"Though the Pentagon has taken some small steps to remove restrictions on female service, they have not yet made a real commitment to a formal repeal. It's time to do what is right and recognize these women for what they do every day in Afghanistan and around the world," said Rep. Loretta Sanchez, D-California, who introduced the bill in the House.

Abortion debate

What is sure to be a hot-button issue in the coming months is a provision in the Senate version of the National Defense Authorization Act, lifting the ban on the Department of Defense paying for abortions in cases of rape or incest.

The measure was added by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-New Hampshire, a member of the Armed Services Committee, and had bipartisan support in the committee.

"This is about equity," Shaheen said. "Civilian women who depend on the federal government for health insurance - whether they are postal workers or Medicaid recipients - have the right to access affordable abortion care if they are sexually assaulted. It is only fair that the thousands of brave women in uniform fighting to protect our freedoms are treated the same."

"It is an outrage and a national security risk that the women in our military do not have the same basic protections for reproductive health care as women across the U.S.," said Gillibrand, a co-sponsor of the amendment.

Quietly, staffers on the Hill say they fully expect fight between the left and right, especially with some members who face re-election in the fall.

But officials familiar with the issue on the Hill say it may not be an issue at all come negotiation time.

"It's a perennial issue. Almost every year, a similar provision is added, and every time it gets eliminated somewhere in the negotiation process," according to one Hill aide who was not authorized to speak ahead of the negotiations.

The problem with Pakistan

In one of the more unusual pieces of the Senate's National Defense Authorization Act, senators agreed to withhold Pakistan's part of a $1.75 billion aid package because of outrage over the imprisonment of a Pakistani doctor who helped with U.S. efforts to pinpoint Osama bin Laden in last year's deadly raid as well as the continued closure of NATO supply routes into and out of Afghanistan.

The provision calls for the aid package to be conditional on Defense Secretary Leon Panetta certifying that Pakistan opens the supply lines, no longer detains Dr. Shakil Afridi and is not supporting terrorist groups.

On Thursday, another bill in the Senate Appropriations Committee also withheld aid to Pakistan for similar reasons.

When asked whether there was a coordinated effort on the Hill to punish Pakistan through legislation, Sen. Carl Levin, D-Michigan, chairman of the Armed Services Committee, said there was not, but there was a lot of anger on the Hill over these issues.

"What it shows is a common outrage, a common response to just about every place you can look," Levin said.

The House bill passed before the outrage in Congress erupted over Pakistan, so it does not contain any similar language.

So as Congress rages about Pakistan this week, it will be interesting to see whether that momentum holds and the Senate Armed Services Committee language stays in the final version of the bill, expected to be voted on by both chambers later this year.

soundoff (103 Responses)
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    September 13, 2012 at 2:16 am | Reply
  2. ehm...

    and missle systems are pricy and worthless if the offense is facing a defense in the same location as the missles are located look its all mental so use your brain its your best weapon and you can do your best work on the can where everyone who is notorious does their best work e.g. dumping out

    July 25, 2012 at 11:20 am | Reply
  3. ehm...

    stay flexable and ready don't burn fuel when posible stop watching the 99 percent and start watching the 1 percent and unless you know exactly what your doing don't spend money or grow forces shrink at all times end the DHS AND ATF they are fuc*king up and cost way to much money i.e. fast and furious and anahiem C.A. & budget cuts

    July 25, 2012 at 11:00 am | Reply
  4. Eggman38

    Nearly $650 BILLION to "Defend" our country. When is the last time we were attacked??? Answer...Pearl Harbor 70 years ago. Yes, we had TERRORISTS use planes and kill 3000 innocent Americans BUT, that was a terrorist event...not an act of war. We have had MANY home grown terror acts as well (Oklamaha City for one) that killed many innocents but the military didn't declare war on those things. Point being, we spend a LOT of money for a military for very little measurable return. We should be protecting OUR BORDERS, not being the protectors of the world.

    May 29, 2012 at 3:27 pm | Reply
    • grif99999

      There were more people killed on 9/11 than at Pearl Harbor. Still, you dont think 9/11 should be considered an act of war? The enemy has changed but 9/11 was definitely an act of war.

      May 30, 2012 at 11:17 am | Reply
      • max3333444555

        I think its valid to ask why this budget is the size it is. why cant it be cut by finding waste and abuse, as is suggested for every other department. at least freeze it and allow the military to rebudget what they find in waste and abuse.

        May 30, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
      • Eggman38

        Act of war from what country??? IT WAS A TERRORIST ORGANIZATION that achieved a goal. An act of war would be against a country...if we are going to declare war against terrorists then we would need to invade EVERY country in the world. We have captured or killed all those who are responsible for 9/11 and yet we still go on losing American lives in the Mid-East. The problem is that SOME in this country are ALWAYS looking for another reason to take out their agressions on other countries. Bye the way...what is Canada's military budget? They seem to do a pretty good job of avoiding attacks from other countries and terrorists.

        May 31, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
  5. Felix El Gato

    What a sham. We all agreed that if the Super Committee couldn't agree on a budget – EVERYTHING would receive the same cut.

    May 29, 2012 at 10:11 am | Reply
  6. GOPisGreedOverPeople

    The GOP solution: Turn all the Old, Sick, Poor, Non-white, Non-christian, Unemployed, and Gay people into slaves. Then whip them until they are Young, Healthy, Rich, White, Christian, Employed, and Straight. Or until they are dead. Then turn them into Soylent Green to feed the military.

    May 29, 2012 at 9:25 am | Reply
    • grif99999

      Typical Dem spin lines. The GOP wants dirty air and dirty water too right?

      May 30, 2012 at 11:21 am | Reply
    • max3333444555

      both parties are wrong on everything they take a hard line on.

      May 30, 2012 at 4:28 pm | Reply
  7. Q

    I like the Romney plan to invad Iran and take over the middle east. More bombs, less food stamps. It is the Christain way...

    May 29, 2012 at 9:12 am | Reply
  8. TSK

    WHITE POWER GRAB

    I WONDER WHAT THE VETS THINK

    ABOUT THE GOD SAVE THE QUEEN REMASTERED RE-RELEASE

    May 29, 2012 at 9:10 am | Reply
  9. rika33

    The DOD budget is full of waste and abuse of taxpayer funds. If you really want fraud, waste, and abuse – take a look at the Inspector General, DODs organization. Almost two thousand people who produce very little in tangible benefits only phoney "benefits". As DOD how much of their "savings" have been realized / returned to the treasury over the past 5 years. That's just an example.

    May 29, 2012 at 8:33 am | Reply
    • NN

      No doubt, the IG like every other kind of oversight is a standing joke. There is so much waste in DoD even they can't get a handle on it. One huge waste are their so-called R & D centers where most of the employees are rejects from local contractors and/or non-performing graduates of mediocre diploma mill programs. DoD tries to dress all this up with grandiose job titles, inflated position descriptions, and outrageous pay grades, but the bottom line is the performance is just not there. They have little to no effect on systems design/acquisition which continue to come in way behind schedule, way over cost, and way below the needed performance.

      May 29, 2012 at 12:17 pm | Reply
  10. michaelfury

    http://michaelfury.wordpress.com/2009/11/11/forever-war/

    May 29, 2012 at 7:23 am | Reply
  11. Dave in Arizona

    Here's a little perspective that, until recently, I didn't have myself.

    We spend in excess of $600B a year on our military. In comparison:

    China: $130B
    Russia: $80B
    Iran: $10B
    North Korea: $10B

    China and Russia would pose the greatest threats in a conventional or nuclear war and we spend roughly 3x more than them combined. Iran and North Korea are considered our greatest threats from a relations/small-scale nuclear perspective, and we spend over 30x more than them combined.

    Of all the military spending in the entire world combined, ours constitutes 40+% of it.

    I can only come to one of two conclusions:
    a) Our military is capable of taking on effectively the entire world, all at once, or
    b) The benefit-cost ratio is horrendous and we're not getting anything near what we should for our money

    Considering how taxed our forces have become just from Iraq and Afghanistan, both of which are a far cry from a real war, I have to lean towards option B. And if that's the case we, as Americans, all need to begin demanding military reform and we need to stop letting Republicans demonize every attempt to optimize defense spending.

    May 29, 2012 at 7:18 am | Reply
    • Burt W

      Yes, Americans who staff our military and those who build their ships, planes, etc are paid 5- 10 times their foreign counterparts. That's one reason our DOD costs so muchQ

      May 29, 2012 at 9:50 am | Reply
      • BOBBY

        Dear, Mr. I staff the Military, and let me tell you even when we are not in deployment mode we still work more then 50 hours a week that does not even encompass the Duty days we have which are 24 hours. On deployments a 16-20 hour works days are good days, and if you say that we are overpaid you are totally wrong.
        There is a lot of lazy civilians who are doing jobs which we could easily accomplish due to the op tempo we don't have the time to get to.

        I guess its easy to speculate and judge when you are not in the middle of things!!!

        A/D MILITARY!!!!!!!!!!!

        June 2, 2012 at 3:54 am |
    • Joe in Arizona

      Dopey Dave, a society fights war congruent with it's culture. The US is a fast technological society, and that costs money. China has a billion and a half people, so will happily sacrifice tens or hundreds of thousands in frontal assaults because they can. Like the Vietnamese did. Winners don't want to be equal and fair. They want an advantage to decisively win.

      "Our defense policy ought to be to spend only what others do." That's a genius strategy. Tell you what, Dopey Dave, you go first. I'll give you a pike with a pointy tip and you go fight the chinaman. Then when you're dead I'll call in the airstrike.

      May 29, 2012 at 2:19 pm | Reply
      • Paul

        Yet we have a hard time defeating a few post-stone age cave dwellers with the best army and air force in the world? What would happen if we had to fight a REAL war?

        May 29, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
  12. Derp

    Let's just get rid of the military completely... I mean the DoD is the single largest employer in the world. I am sure just firing everyone and cancelling all those equipment contracts resulting in those people making the stuff for the military being fired would be awesome for our economy. We could simply take the DoD budget and turn it into the new unemployment budget.

    May 29, 2012 at 3:55 am | Reply
  13. J.V.Hodgson

    I do not support war as a solution to almost all matters as the end result does in my mind only create just as many, if not more, problems than it solves.
    CNN it is not the small monetary difference that is the issue it is the devil in the detail of differences in suggested appropriations. The Abortion thing is you stirring up the debate unnecessarily.... in fact I do not even see why this provision re rape and incest needs to be in the defense bill debate... it is a legal, federally recognised exception... in this matter I fail to see the difference betwen a raped military lady or Raped civilian lady who wishes an abortion.
    If i was awoman in texas as the doctors propsed unde law to stick a camera up my vagina if i had one as a result of rape or incest. I would ask them to do me a favor. Ok when your done make sure the operating theater is ready for my Abortion and dont delay my legal rights. Where did my if I were awoman in that position go in Grand ole ( actually crap) Texas.
    Stop the silly game playing we must in our desperate finanacila state stop warmongering it save Billions of $$$ every year very quickly. Probably $1tr over next 10 years at least. find me another less painful an beneficial way to cut about 10 % from our annual budget deficit!?
    Oooops, been thinking too much again I got a headache, goota buy some tylenol but its too expensive have to wait and find a Canadian Pharmacy to send me some.
    Regards,
    Hodgson

    May 29, 2012 at 3:25 am | Reply
  14. me

    I read a couple comments regarding the US spending "all this money" on usless wars, and the US had been in afghan for twice as long as WW2. Well, if we did not have a bunch of liberal queers breathing down our knecks we could just go over there and destroy everything. The "war" would be over in a couple months and there would most likely be a lot less blood shed from our troops....but hey what do I know. Also is still blows my mind about how a debate such as abortion is tied in with DOD spending. Push issues like abortion to the state level and let the people of each state vote for what THEY want. The government is trying to control to much and doing a horrible job at it. I also noticed comments about civilian contractors and DOD spending on them. I aggree 100% that civilian contractor are a GIANT waste of money. There are foreigners working at the chow halls in afghanistan when there is a military MOS for food services. There are a lot of civilians doing things and getting paid a ton of money to do what some troops have specific MOS's for. Everywhere I look there is usless spending going on. Close the borders, get out of other people business and focus on America, only then will things start to get better.

    May 29, 2012 at 12:03 am | Reply
    • M.D.

      You obviously never deployed and hence have no idea what you're talking about. What on earth would we bomb the heck out of in Afghanistan to end the Taliban's rule? Do you know anything about the terrain?
      Secondly, the bulk of the civilian employee spending goes to American contractors. The foreign contractors are paid in line with their cost of living, which is much less.
      Lastly, Can you read? The abortion component was to address women on active duty. You know, federal sponsored active duty. How are the states supposed to be involved in that decision.
      You really should stick to simpler topics. This one's way over your head.

      May 29, 2012 at 7:36 am | Reply
      • Paul

        Then explain to me why we have to hire companies like Blackwater to provide "security" for our military? Can't our military provide security for itself? And why do these provate security forces get paid 5 times what our soldiers get?

        May 29, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
  15. Hawk in Texas

    Here are the republicans screaming about spending and the debt. what do they do. they want to spend even more money on the overbutgeted military. that will add to the debt that they have been foaming at the mouth about. but they are the ones that caused the debit we now have. but they will blame it on a democrat president even if they have to go back to kennedy.

    May 28, 2012 at 10:30 pm | Reply
    • Thor

      They want to keep Israeli lobbies happy.

      The USA is run in part by persons with enormous sums of money in tel Aviv banks..

      Goldman Sacks....

      Weinstein company..

      May 29, 2012 at 12:00 am | Reply
      • dickdeadwood

        Thor,
        right on bro, your so right the AIPAC Lobby is the REAL force behind the defense budget they WANT us engaged all over the world to fight wars for Isreal. heck the whole so called war on terror, 09/11, et al is a result of our one-sided jinogoist foreign policy which THEY control. Now they want us to fight Iran the only reason they have not been able to force that is because Obama won in 2008 and they dont like him because he is not pliable enough as the ole war monger John McCain (with his neo-con 'handler' Joe Liberman) and his simple minded evangelical flunky VP pick Sara palin would have been. Romney is not a christian zionist just a Morman buisness man who wants to please the 1% so he is not really gung-ho about fighting another war for them even though he fakes the funk as they say to get elected but he is a weather vane poltician who goes in whichever direction the wind blows so he IS suseptible to right wing pressure to invade Iran if elected. a lame dock Obama definetly WONT,

        May 29, 2012 at 8:29 am |
  16. trex

    .....CUT THE DEFENSE BUDGET. WE pay MORE for Defense than the NEXT 19 COUNTRIES DO COMBINED .........How about we spend just what the next 14 countries do, and HELP SSI AND MEDICARE................But thats no good for the military industrial complex we were WARNED about by Eisenhower.

    May 28, 2012 at 9:20 pm | Reply
    • Tim

      SSI and Medicare is part of the problem too. If you cut DOD spending, you might as well work on getting rid of SSI and Medicare.

      May 28, 2012 at 9:46 pm | Reply
      • Hawk in Texas

        Medicare is a program that is paid for by the people on medicare. tea party nut job.

        May 28, 2012 at 10:31 pm |
      • tribbles

        Another dimwit that has no idea what he's talking about...must have read a bumper sticker on a republican car and now thinks he's got it all figured out..lol...lol

        May 29, 2012 at 5:10 am |
      • M.D.

        Tim,
        You and your ilk are hopeless. I seriously feel like you are living in an alternate universe.

        May 29, 2012 at 7:40 am |
      • Paul

        Main difference is I PAID DIRECTLY for SSI and Medicare! These are line item taxes and should not be messed with. In fact, they should be fully funded rather than being lumped into a FY budget!

        May 29, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
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        September 13, 2012 at 2:33 am |
  17. ironman59

    The gop has always been the party of military build up for the sake of lining their pockets. Then they go find some little country like Grenada to invade and claim victory. The gop only wants to get donations from the contractors, give favors and keep their little projects alive. We could adequetly defend this country on 1/2 the budget and put some of that savings back into veterans care. The military is only good to the gop so long as they are in uniform. The minute they are discharged, they are a "drain" on society in the view of the gop.

    May 28, 2012 at 7:10 pm | Reply
  18. The Pope's Butler

    Bake sale.

    May 28, 2012 at 6:49 pm | Reply
    • Thor

      Yea, its called telling Israel to fuck off.

      May 28, 2012 at 7:24 pm | Reply
  19. dale

    The US spends $711 Billion a year on defense (Wikipedia). Over half of this $711 Billlion is because of ""price gouging defense contractors"".

    May 28, 2012 at 6:33 pm | Reply
    • Tim

      You hire government contractors to complete the work of ineffective government employees. It takes 14 contractors to complete the work of 50 government employees. If you could just hire the 14 contractors and fire the 50 government employees you wouldn't need contractors.

      Contractors compete for bids it is up to the government to accept those bids so to say the contractors price gouge means the government price gouges they make the decisions. The government needs to be held accountable. Fire half the government employees and get rid of half the departments that have been created and you can fix a lot of the debt problems.

      May 28, 2012 at 9:54 pm | Reply
      • M.D.

        No Tim, You hire contractors to do specialty jobs required by the government (i.e. build new devices for tanks, bullet proof vests, housing structures etc). They don't take the place of Federal employees. What on earth are you smoking?

        May 29, 2012 at 7:48 am |
      • Paul

        Tim, what are you smoking?? There has never been any transfer of Government jobs to the private sector that has resulted in significant savings! There have been a lot of MANDATED transfers but the savings just isn't there.

        May 29, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
  20. GUTSY333

    YES, I AM FED UP WITH HEARING CULTISTS LIKE ROMNEY, PREACH WAR AND VIOLENCE! CHARITY STARTS AT HOME, NOT KILLING INNOCENT AND POOR FOREIGNERS.

    WALKER BUSH SHOULD HAVE BEEN WARNED OF HOW MIDDLE EASTERNERS DISLIKED US AND HE SHOULD HAVE TRIED DIPLOMACY FIRST, NOT HITTING THEM WITH A GIANT AX :( HE REACTED WITH REVENGE, PUT HIMSELF AT THEIR LEVEL; WAS THERE ANYTHING WON? NOPE, INSTEAD OUR SOLDIERS LOST THEIR LIVES :( AND OUR ECONOMY DIVED INTO DEEP RECESSION AND UNEMPLOYMENT..:(

    BUSH REACTED LIKE A BULLY TO BULLIES. HE FELT INTO BIN LADEN'S BLOODY TRAP!

    May 28, 2012 at 5:19 pm | Reply
    • Madtown90

      I'm not sure if you realized but your caps lock was on in every post you made for this article...

      May 28, 2012 at 6:35 pm | Reply
      • Hawk in Texas

        Got your attention didn't it?

        May 28, 2012 at 10:20 pm |
      • M.D.

        So would someone pissing on my leg in line at McDonalds, but that doesn't make it OK.

        May 29, 2012 at 7:50 am |
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  21. Church

    Guest
    "Never have more American citizens understood what this really is.
    Bought politicians lining their pockets via MIC contractors. The love of money and power." Very true
    Bangash
    "if had been spent on human welfare projects world over it would have enabled each and every individual on earth to get free education clean drinking water and free food." Worth repeating

    May 28, 2012 at 5:03 pm | Reply
  22. Thor

    Let's stop paying Israel billions of dollars a year, and start taking care of our troops.

    Is Israel more important than our own flesh and blood??

    No, my friends. They are most certainly not.

    May 28, 2012 at 4:03 pm | Reply
    • GUTSY333

      ISRAEL IS OF STRATEGIC IMPORTANCE BECAUSE IS PROVIDES CLOSE SURVEILLANCE OF THE AREA AND NEIGHBOR COUNTIRES. NOW, PERHAPS REDUCING THE MONETARY FOREIGN AID IS NEEDED. ALSO BECAUSE OF OUR OWN JEWISH POPULATION, CUTTING ALL TIES TO IT IS NOT A GOOD IDEA.

      I DO THIINK THE PALESTINES SHOULD BE FREE; NO MORE HOSTILITY BETWEEN ISRAEL AND PALESTINE. IF SO MUCH AMERICAN AID GOES TO ISRAEL, WE COULD DEMAND SOMETHING IN RETURN, WHY NOT SOLVING THE PALESTINIAN ISSUE?

      May 28, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Reply
      • Thor

        No, that was true during the cold war.

        Israel only serves as a strategic detriment to the US, as it halts the possibility of real peace plans in most war torn middle eastern nations.

        Israel is the enemy. Take a look at tel Aviv banking books.....

        May 28, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
  23. Steve

    The US spends $711 billion a year on defense (Wikipedia). That's as much as the next fourteen largest countries. Think about this and ask yourself why the GOP regards this as sacred (Gov Romney wants to increase the defense spending in his budget plan)?

    May 28, 2012 at 4:03 pm | Reply
    • GUTSY333

      GEE WHIZ! THE TROUBLE WITH WHAT MEET RUIN ROMNEY WANTS, IS THAT WEAPONS TEMPT OWNERS TO USE THOSE WEAPONS AND START COSTLY WARS!

      WHY NOT INVEST IN EDUCATION AND YOUTH PROGRAMS, INSTEAD?

      May 28, 2012 at 4:26 pm | Reply
      • Ralph in Orange Park, FL

        Why not turn off your caps lock key? Your comments are not strengthened by posting them in all caps.

        May 28, 2012 at 6:55 pm |
    • Madtown90

      We may spend more than the next 14 economies but as a percentage of GDP we aren't even in the top 20. Additionally, you realize a large proportion of that spending is for soldier pay, pensions, education and research right? Defense spending is wholly or partially responsible for creating computers, the internet, cell phones, and the rocket technology that put hundreds of satellites into orbit.

      May 28, 2012 at 6:38 pm | Reply
      • wang chung

        U.S. Tax payers fund research that results in many public goods as you rightly name : computers, internet.... So answer me this, Why does the private sector get to move in, take control, reap the wealth and bill us again for what "WE" already paid for ?

        May 28, 2012 at 7:00 pm |
  24. old golfer

    There won't be any clash for cash. This sorry congress will just go on kicking the can down the road and spending money we don't have. 17 trillion of debt and counting. But, we must police the word and keep a military presence in over 150 countries.

    May 28, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Reply
    • GUTSY333

      WHERE DID YOU FIND THAT OUT?

      May 28, 2012 at 4:28 pm | Reply
      • old golfer

        Any search engine will tell you. Also, the federal budget is public information. You can also write your congressman, as they handle the money. As to the 17 trillion. We are over 15 trillion in public debt. There has never been a budget approved by the senate since Obama was elected. If a budget were approved, there would be around another two trillion in debt.

        May 28, 2012 at 8:54 pm |
    • Paul

      The actual debt being carried by US people is probably over a $quadrillion, due to all the toxic derivatives we signed on to when our great presidents signed on to the bailouts.

      May 29, 2012 at 4:11 pm | Reply
  25. Gopherit

    No reporting about the draconian provisions in the 2012 bill which enable the detention of U.S. citizens even within the U.S. on the basis of "suspicion" of supporting terrorism? No warrant required, no access to the Constitutionally-guaranteed U.S. legal system or a lawyer, detention could involve citizens being removed from the U.S. and imprisoned in a military brig or prison anywhere in the world. Reportedly the same -provisions exist in the House-approved 2013 version. Better government through legislating the provisions of a police state?

    May 28, 2012 at 3:27 pm | Reply
    • GUTSY333

      DO NOT WORRY, OUR CONSTITUTON WAS MADE BY SLAVE OWNERS, RATHER VERY PREJUDICED FOUNDERS :(

      SO THE SYSTEM THEY SET UP IS UNBALANCED AND BIASED.

      THERE ARE SOME GOOD THINGS IN THAT DOCUMENT,BUT OTHER "LAWS" ARE VERY UNFAIR.

      SO BLIND FAITH IN THE CONSTITUTION CONTINUES A FLAWED SYSTEM :( WHY DID SO MANY INNOCENT AFRICAN AMERICANS DIED IN THE AWFUL ELECTRIC CHAIR, EVEN THOUGH THEY WERE INNOCENT?

      May 28, 2012 at 4:36 pm | Reply
      • Tim

        You make absolutely no sense in any of your posts. You should read more on the history of slave ownership. You should read the debate that occurred during the writing of the constitution over slave ownership. The choice was not theirs at that time.
        We have the ability to look back and pass judgement on those men without any understanding of the mind set of that day.

        May 28, 2012 at 10:03 pm |
      • Paul

        Gutsy, just how many"innocent" blacks died in the electric chair? How many guilty blacks go free because of technicalities? I do not condone racisim in any form but YOU opened that can of worms.

        May 29, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
  26. Stephen in VA

    Missile threats from Russia? Really? C'mon, now. And why would a Representative from Ohio be so concerned–oh, wait. There are currently 16,000 jobs in Ohio in the aerospace industry. The state is 5th in aerospace/defense products, and eighth in workers.

    Nah, I'm sure the guy from Ohio isn't pushing for Star Wars for any sort of Ohio-centric reason, right?

    May 28, 2012 at 3:06 pm | Reply
    • GUTSY333

      NUCLEAR WAR ROMNEY, SAID: "OUR MAIN THREAT IS THE SOVIET UNION". THE RUSSIAN PREMIER, PATIENTLY RESPONDED:"MR. ROMNEY SHOULD KNOW THE COLD WAR ENDED LONG AGO." BUT RUIN ROMNEY IS NO RONALD REAGAN, WHO PACTED WITH GORBACHEV TO ELIMINATE ALL NUCLEAR WEAPONS.

      AFTERWARDS, I READ HERE THAT ROMNEY WENT AGAINST CHINA. OBVIOUSLY ROMNEY IS LOOKING FOR FOREIGN ENEMIES AND STARTING WARS WE CANNOT AFFORD AND KILL THOUSANDS OF OUR SOLDIERS. ALSO FOREIGN INNOCENTS GET KILLED IN THE CROSSFIRE :(

      May 28, 2012 at 4:45 pm | Reply
      • Paul

        Gutsy, when will we eliminate all nuclear weapons? You should have listened a little in history class if you are old enough to have taken one.

        May 29, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
    • artraveler

      The reason why we must protect ourselves from Russia is that Romney stupidly said so and he never apologizes for stupid comments. They just get rolled into his policy.

      May 28, 2012 at 4:59 pm | Reply
      • GUTSY333

        I READ THE REPUKES WANT AN ARMAGEDDON THAT WOULD DESTROY HUMANITY, AND ONLY "GOOD CHRISTIANS WOULD LIVE IN A NEW, PERFECT WORLD THAT THEIR CHRIST WOULD RULE.

        SO UNCONSCIOUSLY, AT LEAST, THE CHRISTIAN GOP, EVANGELISTS,MORMONS AND TEA POISON PARTY WISH FOR A DESTRUCTIVE NUCLEAR WWIII :(

        IT SEEMS THEIR SECOND CHRIST IS RUIN ROMNEY. A VERY SELF DESTRUCTIVE REP. NOMINEE :(

        May 28, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
  27. 60minuteman

    "Proponents, like Rep. Michael Turner, R-Ohio, an ardent missile defense backer" – and another republican embarrassment for the state of Ohio.

    May 28, 2012 at 3:01 pm | Reply
    • GUTSY333

      RIGHT! HE WILL PROBABLY LOOSE ELECTION. :)

      May 28, 2012 at 4:47 pm | Reply
      • M.D.

        I think the nurse is on her way with your medication. Time to turn the computer off.

        May 29, 2012 at 7:53 am |
  28. nolimits3333

    The problem with war is that sooner or later you run out of other people's money.

    May 28, 2012 at 1:47 pm | Reply
    • GUTSY333

      WAR SHOULD BE A LAST RESORT, OR STARTED WHEN THE PRESIDENT LEARNS OF FOREIGN PLOTS AGAINST AMERICA.

      May 28, 2012 at 4:49 pm | Reply
    • RobSailor

      The actual quote is from Margret Thatcher, "The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money." A fact not learned by our congress since the authorization allowing us to incur debt. :(

      May 28, 2012 at 5:15 pm | Reply
      • GUTSY333

        "THE IRON LADY" WAS OFTEN WRONG :) DID SHE PRODUCE A BRITISH RENEWAL?

        May 28, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
  29. flarnkingsgargle

    so.....we spend almost 3/4 of a trillion annually on ways to kill people half way around the world, people who have been dirt poor their whole lives, have nothing to lose and resent that fact.....seems like a winning strategy.

    May 28, 2012 at 1:47 pm | Reply
    • old golfer

      Actually, the DOD budget for this year was 842 billion and the total cost of the wars is probably not known. Iraq and Afghanistan will be an expense forever it seems. 11 years and counting. Good post.

      May 28, 2012 at 3:58 pm | Reply
      • GUTSY333

        WHY DO YOU MAXIMIZE 750 BILLIONS INTO A TRILLION SUGGESTION?

        May 28, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
  30. Michael

    Spend the money on our Road's and Bridges. We dont need to be in Afaganistan lets leave now save billions from going into crooks pockets.

    May 28, 2012 at 1:25 pm | Reply
    • GUTSY333

      YES, INDEED.

      May 28, 2012 at 4:54 pm | Reply
    • Jim

      You REALLY believe the people who build roads and bridges aren't also crooks?

      May 29, 2012 at 7:49 am | Reply
  31. Pete

    Republicans keep trying to turn the clock back to the 1950's. We had a working missile shield in 1975, and shut it down with the SALT Treaty. More wasted money trying to live in the past.

    May 28, 2012 at 12:29 pm | Reply
    • GUTSY333

      RIGHT, CONTRADICTORY POLICIES THAT UNDO WHAT A PAST PARTY HAS DONE, DESTROYS OUR PREVIOUS INVESTMENTS. LIKE ROMNEY SAID HE WOULD REDUCE EDUCATION (SOURCE: CNN TV) WELL, ALMOST ALL OUR FORMER PRESIDENTS AND PRESIDENT OBAMA HAVE INVESTED BILLIONS IN EDUCATION IMPROVEMENT.

      WHY BURN A FANCY DRESS, AFTER SAWING IT UP, OR BUYING IT?

      May 28, 2012 at 5:00 pm | Reply
      • Paul

        Problem with most federal education improvements is they do not produce any improvement! Education is something best left to the states. Abolish the federal Department of Education and save a bunch right there.

        May 29, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
    • AlexShch

      As far as I can remember, SALT 2 Treaty ceilings were set at 11,000 warheads. Good luck to catch at least 5% of them. Any missile defense existed at that time, whether real or in Reigan's sweet dreams, was pretty much irrelevant.

      May 28, 2012 at 11:22 pm | Reply
  32. krm1007

    CONGRESS: PLEASE ACT NOW !!

    The recent news about the imminent danger due to floods to the nuclear plant in Nebraska is eye opening. First Japan and now this. If technologically advanced countries cannot handle this surely third world countries would also struggle.

    Quid pro quo transfer of nuclear technology by USA to third world countries such as India needs to be opposed on moral grounds. Billions of people live in that neighborhood and would be at risk from such catastrophes which I am sure the American people would not like to be a party to. We are all well aware that that region is prone to floods, earthquakes, tsunamis, and of course terrorism placing such nuclear installations at tremendous risks. US Congress is urged to reconsider and cancel all the agreements for the transfer of such technologies due “Force Majeure”.

    May 28, 2012 at 11:57 am | Reply
  33. Spectator

    And... It should be able to intercept hundreds of inbound missiles AT ONCE. If it cannot, then it is futile. Let just one through and damage is done.

    May 28, 2012 at 11:16 am | Reply
  34. Keith

    You can count on Congress to continue to sell the blood of American soldiers to line their pockets.

    May 28, 2012 at 11:14 am | Reply
  35. Spectator

    I think we need the shield. But it is going to be in the wrong place! Chances are better on a polar trajectory. But it depends on which threat is higher. I can see a coming conflict with Russia and China in the next 5 years. But we need this on west coast and Alaska as well. Just my opinion, one on the east coast is less benefit.

    May 28, 2012 at 11:08 am | Reply
    • cybercmdr

      Wherever you leave holes, that's where the missiles will come from. Subs can launch nukes from off any shore, and they will pick the least defended front.

      May 28, 2012 at 3:33 pm | Reply
    • GUTSY333

      I WONDER. DID THE GORBACHEV-REAGAN STRATEGIC INITIATIVE CONTRIBUTE TO THE PRESENT HOLD IN THE NORTH POLE?

      May 28, 2012 at 5:04 pm | Reply
    • Paul

      Aegis cruisers with SM-3 missiles can be placed pretty much all around the US in offshore locations. We ALREADY have the technology to defend ourselves against the BM threat if we would just use it. Take a bundh of money spent on a new carrier and use it for DEFENSE.

      May 29, 2012 at 4:23 pm | Reply
  36. Guest

    Never have more American citizens understood what this really is.

    Bought politicians lining their pockets via MIC contractors. The love of money and power.

    May 28, 2012 at 10:30 am | Reply
  37. Mikithinks

    What lobby got congress to buy more star wars for the EAST coast? The Oklahoma bomber, the Atlanta Olympics, the 9-11 planes would all have happened anyway. Does anyone think that east coast protection has any connection to where congress works? The billions would be better spent for police, education, roads and bridges. They we would have a real start on rebuilding the very foundation of the America we are defending.

    May 28, 2012 at 9:55 am | Reply
    • GUTSY333

      RIGHT, WHEN NEWS OF THE VAUNTED MISSILE "PROTECTION" SPREAD THROUGH THE WORLD, TERRORISTS ARE WARNED ABOUT WHAT TO AVOID :(

      May 28, 2012 at 5:08 pm | Reply
  38. Curt

    Why can't the budget be cut? The U.S. already spends far more than any other country on defence yet despite having the most powerful armed forces in the world the U.S. has been in Afganistan more than twice as long as WW2 lasted and still fighting a bunch of mountain men. Didn't congress just pass a bill a month or so ago giving the armed foprces about $650,000, 000 for equipment for tanks the Pentagon said they didn't even need? If we didn't get involved in needless wars, there would be all kinds of extra money.

    May 28, 2012 at 8:49 am | Reply
  39. Bangash

    Congress being custodian of general public will should prefer public opinion in deciding such vital issues. 70% Americans have voiced against US wars world over and their is consensus that American taxpayers money should be spent on Americans welfare instead its use in killing of weak and poor nations all over the world. According to UN survey if half of the billions of dollars spent on wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, if had been spent on human welfare projects world over it would have enabled each and every individual on earth to get free education clean drinking water and free food. Now Congress before approval of the said budget should think over what type of America they want to make ?

    May 28, 2012 at 2:39 am | Reply
    • trex

      ...but then the Military Industrial Complex wont get THEIR money............

      May 29, 2012 at 8:04 am | Reply

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