Rick Sanchez Fact Checks James Inhofe on Military Spending
Rick Sanchez fact checks Sen. James Inhofe on military spending.
SANCHEZ: Here's a fact check for you. This week, President Obama revealed his first military budget for our country -- total outlay, more than $533 billion.
Here's how it compares to the last military budget under President Bush -- total outlay, some $515 billion.
So, as you can see, in his first year in office, President Obama is proposing more for the Pentagon than did George Bush -- a fact that is not being well-received, by the way, by many on the left, who don't want to see that.
Why then, from the right, is Republican Senator James Inhofe complaining and, in fact, saying this?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM YOUTUBE.COM)
INHOFE: Here we are in Afghanistan right now. We have our -- our men and women in uniform in harm's way. And we hear an announcement we're cutting -- and I would say gutting -- our military. I've never seen a budget like this. We're spending so much money. The Obama budget has increased welfare and all time we're doing this, increasing all these welfares to an (INAUDIBLE), the only thing in the budget that's being cut is military. Right here, things are going to increase. The numbers are going to increase and yet we're cutting the budget.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: Cutting and gutting the military budget.
Joining us now is Jim Arkedis.
He's the director of the National Security Project of the Progressive Policy Institute.
You guys check on these things...
JIM ARKEDIS, PROGRESSIVE POLICY INSTITUTE: We do.
SANCHEZ: ...to make sure the figures are right. So because you're down now in the middle, I'm going to ask you the question -- is Senator James Inhofe correct to say that President Obama is "gutting the U.S. military budget?"
In fact, he goes on to say disarming America.
ARKEDIS: Obviously, the senator's words are pretty ridiculous. President Obama has proposed an increase, as the numbers you just rattled off suggested. And there's absolutely no hint any time in the future that America's military budget is going to be gutted or we're going to be incapable of fighting the wars that -- that we are in now and we will look to in the future -- or have to in the future.
SANCHEZ: And just to be clear, you're -- you're not a lefty, right?
You're not coming at this from oh, I'm a defender of Barack Obama or the Democrats' proposals here, right?
SANCHEZ: Your organization is?
ARKEDIS: We are the Progressive Policy Institute. So I'll let the -- the title speak for itself. But we are a centrist progressive organization.
SANCHEZ: Do you think this has something to do with the fact that Senator Inhofe did have some programs cut from his own state, in Oklahoma -- apparently some kind of defense mechanism project where they used -- that they used for tanks or something?
SANCHEZ: ...happens from time to time.
ARKEDIS: Absolutely. It's a big problem in the defense industry.
Look, what Senator Gates has done is essentially reoriented America's defenses. This is long overdue. He's told the defense industry that we have to move from a cold war mindset into fighting the battles like irregular warfare in Iraq and Afghanistan that we're current -- currently in.
As you mentioned, the senator in Oklahoma -- there's a big construction of a program called Future Combat Systems, which is supposed to be this very high tech, integrated system on the battlefield that -- that links up everything from tanks to medical vehicles to... SANCHEZ: And it was cut.
ARKEDIS: It was cut.
ARKEDIS: It's a big, unwieldy problem, it's been the sort of problem child of the defense industry. It's decades overdue and...
ARKEDIS: ...and hundreds of billions of dollars too expensive.
SANCHEZ: So, really, when he says the U.S. defense is being gutted, actually what he probably seemed to be inferring was Oklahoma's was -- or at least this particular project.
Jim, we're out of time.
Thanks so much for taking the time to talk to us.
ARKEDIS: Thank you very much.
SANCHEZ: By the way, we reached out to Senator Inhofe. His office says that he is traveling overseas and though he'd love to have joined us, he could not be reached.