Ryan promises strong military

Congressman Paul Ryan speaks in Fayetteville Thursday.

August 23, 2012 3:20:54 PM PDT
Campaigning near Fort Bragg Thursday, vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan laid the blame for defense cuts set to take effect in January at the feet of President Obama.

Ryan took part in a defense industry roundtable at the Partnership for Defense Innovation. He said the debt-reduction plan approved by Congress last year means "cuts beyond the bone" to the nation's military.

The cuts - known as "sequestration" - are set to kick in January 2 because a supercommittee of House and Senate members failed to reach a budget reduction deal by last Christmas. The supercommittee was set up by the Budget Control Act signed by President Obama that Republicans and Democrats negotiated last August to avoid defaulting on the nation's debt. The automatic cuts set to kick in early next year would mean about a 10 percent reduction in more than 2,000 defense programs - or about $500 billion.

Ryan - chairman of the House Budget Committee - was one of 174 Republicans that joined 95 Democrats in voting for the Budget Control Act.

In Fayetteville Thursday, Ryan said the House of Representatives has since passed budget options that would cut from other areas, but Democrats in the Senate have failed to act. He blamed Obama for the inaction - saying the President is set to go ahead with "devastating defense cuts."

He said if he and Mitt Romney are elected, they'll pursue the doctrine of peace through strength.

"We will reverse these reckless and devastating defense cuts," Ryan told his audience.

The Romney campaign said Thursday that the looming cuts could mean thousands of jobs lost in North Carolina.

President Obama has called for a new budget compromise between Democrats and Republicans to avoid the defense cuts. In an interview Monday with the Virgiania Pilot newspaper, he said cuts need to be spread around, and the wealthiest Americans need to do their part too.

"Democrats have to understand we're going to need some additional spending cuts, and Republicans have to understand we're going to need some additional revenues," Obama said.

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