Senator Jon Kyl, an Arizona Republican, warned that he would quit the special congressional committee tasked with deficit reduction if defense faces deeper cuts.
“I am off of the committee if we are going to talk about further defense cuts,” Kyl said today at an event organized by the American Enterprise Institute, the Foreign Policy Initiative and the Heritage Foundation in Washington.
Kyl said that the supercommittee can find cuts of $1.5 trillion without forcing further cuts to discretionary spending. Defense amounts to more than half of the government’s discretionary spending.
President Barack Obama signed a measure on Aug. 2 that calls for trimming $350 billion from planned defense spending over 10 years. The law calls for a special congressional committee to find $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction throughout the federal government.
If Congress fails to act, the deal calls for an automatic cut of an additional $500 billion in defense spending over a decade, not including interest.
“People kid about waste, fraud and abuse. That is real,” Kyl said.“If we have the courage to face that, we can find the savings without forcing additional discretionary cuts.”