March 2nd, 2014
04:06 PM ET
7 months ago

Sen. Lindsey Graham: Obama budget 'guts our defense'

(CNN) – Sen. Lindsey Graham said the Obama administration's proposed budget "guts our defense" and ignores the need for military preparation for future conflicts.

The South Carolina Republican told CNN's Candy Crowley Sunday that if the United States were to need to take immediate military action in an international conflict, that situation would drain defense resources.

Graham said on “State of the Union” that "440,000 members of the United States army is a gutted army. We do have a lot of technology available to our troops. Every soldier goes into battle with an array of technology and equipment not possessed in World War II. But you still need trigger pullers."

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel unveiled last week the Defense Department's spending plan for 2015 and beyond. The budget calls for shrinking the Army to pre-World War II levels, a scaling-back, he said, that "recognizes the reality of the magnitude of our fiscal challenges."

"For the first time in 13 years, we will be presenting a budget to the Congress of the United States that's not a war-footing budget," Hagel said. "That's a defining budget because it starts to reset and reshape."

Graham, a two-term senator who is facing a tough primary challenge, has been highly critical of President Barack Obama's administration, particularly on the foreign-policy front.

"This budget by President Obama guts our defense. It is the smallest army since 1940, the smallest Navy since 1915 and the smallest air force in modern history," he said.

Graham said if the United States needed to step in to stop an escalation of Iran's nuclear program, the military would have to use every B-2 and F-22 aircraft available.

"So if you're going to modernize your military for future conflicts, this budget will not allow you to do it. And the idea you're going to make - you taking off what kind of wars you're going to fight assumes the enemies of our nation will agree with you."

Dick Durbin, the Senate's second-ranking Democrat, said the budget reflects the changing environment for international conflicts, defending the Defense Department's proposed scaled-back military as a realistic necessity in the modern era.

"I have great confidence of the men and women in the military and our technology to continue to meet that challenge. But we have to acknowledge the obvious,” Durbin, of Illinois, said on CNN. "If we are going to reduce our debt for future generations, we are going to have to cut spending on the defense and non-defense sides."

Watch State of the Union with Candy Crowley Sundays at 9am ET. For the latest from State of the Union click here.

soundoff (48 Responses)
  1. My2centsworth

    Wait, I'm confused. Who's the fiscal conservative here? Obama or Gram?

    March 2, 2014 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  2. Logician

    Hey Lindsay: can't both balance the budget and increase Defense which is 20 % of it and 50% of our national debt.

    March 2, 2014 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  3. Marie MD

    Looking at charts of government defense spending it seems that it was pretty low around 2000-2003?
    Let me think, who was president at that time?
    Right, but it's okay it was not the black man in the White House.

    March 2, 2014 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  4. Marie MD

    Just watching the news and it seems that some of these folks are receiving the Russians as liberators. Isn't that what the dick said about American troops when we invaded Iraq for those never were WMDs?

    March 2, 2014 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  5. Tampa Tim

    What do the Libertarians say?

    March 2, 2014 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  6. Maria Rivera-Carvalho

    If Mr. Graham is so keen of defense, he should start by giving veterans the rights and services they deserve instead of denying them everytime they come to a vote. . Secretary Hagel knows the needs of our military a lot better than the chicken hawks in Congress and unlike Graham, he knows what his is doing.

    March 2, 2014 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  7. Matt

    We have tasked every government run entity to cut waste and trim their budgets and yet when it comes to the gargantuan behemoth of a budget that we call the military that dwarfs all the others in comparison we immediately hear the wailing and gnashing of teeth predicting the fall of our empire if we dare reduce this staggering sum by a few percent. Every week new revelations surface of military contracts run amok bamboozleing the tax payers and yet this sacrosanct cash cow is somehow off limits. Don't insult our intelligence. Even a halfwit can grasp the concept that wherever huge sums of money are involved without oversight, corruption is rampant. It's well past time to begin cleaning house. We shouldn't just be trimming the budget, we should be investigating and bringing charges.

    March 2, 2014 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  8. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    Little Lindsey sure seems to be in the pocket of some powerful defense lobbyists or contractors.

    March 2, 2014 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  9. g

    stop giving billions to oil companies and farmers who don,t need it .

    March 2, 2014 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  10. katherine

    its about time it was cut. it is hard to imagine a greater lunacy than continuing to build aircraft carriers at $13 BILLION apiece, which cost over $6 million PER DAY to deploy, and could be sunk by a single Chinese DF-21D missile.

    March 2, 2014 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  11. pappy

    Its time to cut the bloated military budget.

    March 2, 2014 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  12. jinx9to88

    So sad!! Less overpaid government contracts that will be paid out to politicians friends. Cry me a river!!

    March 2, 2014 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  13. Guest

    Graham has been so bent on putting down the President – he keeps making a complete fool out of himself along with his buddy McCain. They have both lost their minds.

    March 2, 2014 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  14. S. B. Stein

    If members of Congress would stop demanding the military buy certain projects and equipment, then there would be less of a problem with spending. We need more specialized military personnel rather than larger numbers. That means more SEALs and other special forces and intelligence groups rather than the grunts.

    March 2, 2014 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  15. Paty

    Instead of shrinking our military capabilities how about shrinking the american peoples reliance on food stamps, welfare and unemployment. We need real leaders in order to shrink spending. Less Government means less spending.

    March 3, 2014 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  16. Derek Bolander

    Democratic and Republican leaders will find the conflict in the Ukraine the perfect excuse to increase funding and reignite our military complex.

    March 3, 2014 12:49 am at 12:49 am |
  17. J.V.Hodgson

    Just like the UK in 1950/60's they had to learn that empire and gun boat diplomacy no longer worked and the empire collapsed and became the commonwealth countries.
    Oh also he is now the equivalent of the air force, army and naval commanders members of the Joint chiefs of staff and Knows exactly How much resource we'd need for a war with Iran
    This nation no longer wants to go to war with Islamic states or with Russia over Ukraine the former having legitimate rights in Crimea especially Sevastapol on the Black sea granted by the Ukraine government many, many, years ago before Yanyukovich.
    WE will not get into more wars and the reason has nothing to do with the Budget... we the people don't want to and its essential we don't to get out of our Debt crisis rememebre sequestration which you approved.
    Regards,
    hodgson

    March 3, 2014 01:44 am at 1:44 am |
  18. Paul

    We grow weaker on the world platform...while thugs like Putin grow stronger...great strategy Obama! We are screwed as a super power.

    March 3, 2014 01:48 am at 1:48 am |
  19. tgbvt

    Oh no, it would drain your budget if there were a conflict...and then your budget would be increased by the house/senate...oh the HORROR.

    March 3, 2014 02:33 am at 2:33 am |
  20. George

    I pray everyday that President Obama continues to ignore these GOP/Tea Party fools!

    March 3, 2014 04:08 am at 4:08 am |
  21. jacob mc

    Conservatives have hacked and slashed at government for thirty years. Now the only place to find meaningful cuts is the over half of the budget consumed by defense and intelligence spending. Naturally they don't care when the poor are starving our dying of untreated, preventable medical issues. But mess with the military dollars flowing into their districts and they're out in force.

    March 3, 2014 04:50 am at 4:50 am |
  22. TomInRochNY

    So, Senator Graham, are you willing to raise taxes? I thought not.

    March 3, 2014 07:45 am at 7:45 am |
  23. Michael MN

    Corporite socialism – the GOP favorite way of spending money

    March 3, 2014 07:51 am at 7:51 am |
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