Rep. Mike Turner is entering budget season with a reminder: He wants Congress to stick with the promised funding levels for federal Defense programs.
Turner, R-Dayton, led 84 Republicans in a letter to House Budget Chairman Tom Price Wednesday to “express our complete and unwavering support” for a House budget resolution that provides $574 billion for national defense base requirements.
That level is consistent with a 2015 law that caps the defense base budget at $551 billion with an additional $23 billion in Overseas Contingency Operations funds to pay for the military.
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Turner is upset that President Barack Obama’s most recent budget only allocates $5 billion in the Overseas Contingency fund, meaning $18 billion less than last year.
That’s not enough, said Turner in the letter. He wrote that given ongoing operations in Afghanistan, the threat of ISIS, the threat of Russia and the nuclear threat posed by countries including North Korea and Iran, “it is critically important that we sustain our military and meet contingency operations requirements so that we can provide our next president with viable strategic options.”
The letter said that there are worries that under current funding levels, the current Army of 480,000 will be reduced to 450,000. The levels, they wrote “are unacceptable and greatly jeopardize the safety of our country.”
Last year, Turner led 70 Republicans on a letter to House Speaker John Boehner urging the House to adequately pay for Defense programs in 2016 and threatening not to vote for any budget that did not adequately pay for defense programs.
Fellow Ohio Reps. Brad Wenstrup, R-Cincinnati and Bob Gibbs, R-Lakeville, also signed the letter.
In an interview, Turner said he’s concerned that even though an agreement was reached last year, “the terms of the deal keep shifting.”
“Our military is close to the breaking point and that has caught everyone’s attention,” he said. “I don’t think you can be a conservative and not be for protecting defense spending.”
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