The Republican chairman of the House Armed Services Committee said at AEI this morning that he would choose a strong defense if forced to pick between tax hikes or military cuts.
Representative Howard P. “Buck” McKeon (R-California) said that the drive for defense cuts has been “coming at us in a rapid-fire, escalating effect,” particularly as the Super Committee faces a November 23 deadline to vote on a plan that cuts the deficit by $1.5 trillion.
Defense will inevitably suffer a “very heavy burden” with “excessive” cuts, McKeon said, but the default trigger would weaken the military to the point where it could not operate.
“I have never voted for a tax increase,” McKeon said, but if forced to choose between a hike and deeper defense cuts, “I would go to strengthen defense.”
He said that Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) had visited his committee; as chairman, he noted, “it’s my job to make sure that they’re aware of all the consequences” of defense cuts.
“I hope they share my conviction,” he said of his fellow House Republicans. “I believe they do.”