Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 12, 2016

Inhofe: ‘Military Has No Money Left’ for Syria

(Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee announced Wednesday he opposed military intervention in Syria unless he finds more money for the Defense budget and details a broader strategy.

“Today I told the Administration that I cannot support military action in Syria unless the President presents to Congress his broader strategy in the region that addresses our national security interests and the budget to support it. President Obama has decimated our military beginning with his first budget four and a half years ago. He has underfunded overseas contingency operations (OCO) fund, reduced base defense budget, and put into motion sequestration. Our military has no money left,” Sen. James M. Inhofe, R-Okla., said in a statement.

“Will the President pay for this operation with more furloughs and by grounding squadrons again? By continuing to raid the already underfunded base defense budget, Administration Obama further undermines future military readiness and capabilities,” Inhofe said.

Of course, the sequester Defense cuts were passed by Congress as part of the 2011 budget law that was enacted on a bipartisan basis.

Finding more money for defense to pay for Syria would be complicated by the fact that Congress will be grappling with the ongoing fight over the sequester and a stalemate on next year’s budget when it returns from the August break.
Inhofe has other concerns as well.

“The United States should also not consider a strategy without thoroughly consulting and heeding the advice of our partners in the region, which include Israel, Jordan and Turkey,” Inhofe said. “It is vital we avoid shortsighted military action that would have little impact on the long-term trajectory of the conflict. We can’t simply launch a few missiles and hope for the best.”

Senate leaders have largely kept quiet on the Syria situation so far, though a number of senators in both parties have said President Barack Obama should seek congressional authorization.

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