Presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney accused President Obama on Friday of undermining NATO by doing nothing to prevent scheduled cuts to the U.S. military’s budget from taking place.
In a statement, Romney said the automatic cuts “undermine the alliance” between the U.S. and its NATO allies.
“The U.S. military is facing nearly $1 trillion in cuts over the next ten years,” Romney said. “And President Obama has sent the message—intentionally or not—that the worth of NATO has diminished in America’s eyes.”
Romney referred to the sequestration as the “Obama-era military cuts,” and said he would reverse them if they go into effect next year as scheduled. He did not say, however, whether he’d cancel the cuts from happening or simply restore the lost funding with more spending down the road.
The true value of the military’s cuts over the next decade is closer to $500 billion, though Congress and the White House have also agreed to cut another $500 billion from non-defense budgets.
UPDATE: As part of its broader defense authorization bill — which passed on Friday — the House approved an amendment to repeal the cuts. Virginia Rep. Scott Rigell (R), who sponsored the measure, said the sequestration represents “a violent reduction that will devastate our military and the industries that support it.”
Rigell noted that the sharp reduction in spending would have a direct impact on his home state.
“Ten cents of every defense dollar in the Pentagon’s budget is spent in Virginia, and 20 percent of all jobs in Virginia are dependent on military spending.”
The House version of the bill will almost certainly be rejected by Senate Democrats, who are generally in favor of allowing the automatic defense cuts to occur.