We all agree that we need to reduce our national debt, and one surefire way to reduce our spending is to fine-tune the national budget. However, certain budget expenditures are vital to America's security. House Republicans made reckless and dangerous choices in their latest budget proposal, demonstrating that they are willing to make America less safe in order to make a partisan point.
Alpha company and I arrived in Iraq just as the Marine Corps began to provide a new, stronger type of armor. This armor was a smart and needed investment; when we were hit by roadside bombs, this armor saved the lives of Marines in my company. It is unfortunate that Marines in Iraq had to wait so long for the armor to arrive, but this life-saving investment was well worth it.
Unfortunately, many conservatives are making the same mistakes we made in Iraq. They are not equipping America to contend with the 21st century battlefield. They plan on cutting counterinsurgency efforts in Afghanistan and anti-terrorism protections for public transportation. In addition to endangering our troops, they are abandoning our veterans at home - the cuts include funds that keep homeless veterans off the streets.
Below are three dangerous cuts proposed by House Republican leadership:
• Counterinsurgency funding. Cut USAID by $121m (9% cut), which will halt new civilian programs in Afghanistan and Pakistan that are necessary for the counterinsurgency strategy to work. These programs were called for by US military commanders. [Analysis of HR1].
• Nuclear terrorism prevention. House cuts would make it easier for someone to steal nuclear material (cut the non-proliferation funding). That material would be easier to get into the country (cut the container screening at DHS). Once it's here, it'd be harder to detect (cut the Domestic Nuclear Detection office). And if someone manages to set off a dirty bomb in a major city, the first responders won't know how to deal with it (cut the weapons of mass destruction first responder training). [Program cuts in the FY2011 Continuing Resolution]
• Homeless veterans. Terminated the Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing Program, the aim of which is to end veteran homelessness in 5 years. There were more than 130,000 homeless veterans in 2009. The VASH program provided housing vouchers for them. Here is a great example of local story: WTNH, New Haven, CT.