House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D-MO) released the following statement on the FY 2010 federal defense budget proposal President Obama sent to Congress today:
“Members of the House Armed Services Committee are anxious to examine the details of the President’s defense budget proposal and get to work on the Fiscal Year 2010 defense authorization bill. In the current economic climate, it is more important than ever to ensure that each defense dollar is spent wisely and effectively. While many difficult budget and policy decisions are ahead of us, I believe the $533.8 billion requested for defense is a reasonable level which will allow us to support our troops and keep America safe.
“I commend the administration for making service members and their families a priority in this budget. I am especially pleased that this year’s budget proposal does not impose new fees on the TRICARE health benefits our service members and their families need. I am also glad that the President’s budget includes funding to increase the size of the Army and Marine Corps, which is essential to reduce the strain our service members are bearing as a result of our commitments in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other places around the world.
“Next Wednesday, the House Armed Services Committee will receive budget testimony from Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen, to be followed in the coming days by testimony from the civilian and military leaders of the Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps. I look forward to working with the administration to produce a defense authorization bill that supports our Armed Forces and their families and protects U.S. national security.”