Lawmakers speak in favor of boost in defense spending - WSMV News 4

Lawmakers speak in favor of boost in defense spending

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Rep. Blackburn (left), Rep. Black (center) and Rep. Thornberry discuss military spending at Fort Campbell. (WSMV) Rep. Blackburn (left), Rep. Black (center) and Rep. Thornberry discuss military spending at Fort Campbell. (WSMV)

The future of defense spending has been at the center of a national debate.

What’s being hashed out is how much should be spent and where that money should be taken. Fort Campbell has an opinion about that.

Fort Campbell officials say they’d like to have two, maybe three more brigades. They say proficiency comes in their number of soldiers.

In a tour of Fort Campbell Tuesday, Representatives Marsha Blackburn and Diane Black spoke in favor of a boost in defense spending.

“The president is committed to rebuilding our nation’s military,” Blackburn said.

“I’ll be working with my House Budget Committee,” Black said.

The two were joined on post by representative Mac Thornberry of Texas.

“I’m struck by the damage done by sequestration,” Thornberry said. “I think in Washington, there’s a consensus that we’ve cut the military too much.”

“We know part of the money needs to focus on the human capital,” Blackburn said. “Part of it has to focus on redeployment training, and part of it on equipment.”

Major General Andrew Poppas of Fort Campbell says there’s no money for new construction on post for the next two years. He says that means some barracks have been around since the 70s, and one building used for vehicle maintenance is from 1942.

Still, Poppas says new funds should first go toward building up the number of soldiers following drawdowns in recent years.

“That had implications. It had serious implications in terms of readiness,” Poppas said.

President Trump’s first budget proposal seeks a $54 billion increase in defense and security spending.

The administration says the increase will happen while large cuts are made to the State Department, the Environmental Protection Agency and several social programs.

Some lawmakers have criticized the proposed cuts, while some other lawmakers have claimed the defense spending should actually be higher than $54 billion to make a major impact.

“I heard from Rep. Thornberry on the weekend talk show, that wasn’t enough. He believes it’s upwards of $100 billion,” Poppas said.

Blackburn says the president will soon be working with the House and Senate chairmen on the future of defense spending.

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