For Carter, Plenty of Advice from Hill

For Carter, Plenty of Advice from Hill

There’s no shortage of advice on Capitol Hill for the new defense secretary, and members have some rather lofty expectations.

Just hours after the Senate approved his nomination 93-5, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, said “both [incoming] Secretary [Ashton] Carter and Congress have their work cut out for them.”

But if the former deputy defense secretary needs some guideposts to help him navigate his news position, members of Congress are offering plenty.

HASC Ranking Member put it mildly when describing a job that will force Carter to deal with more across-the-board budget cuts, new threats like the Islamic State and renewed ones like Russia.

“In the current budget and political environment, this job will not be easy,” Smith said in a statement.

Smith then took not easy and raised it to maybe impossible, setting a goal for Carter that has confounded many US officials and lawmakers.

“It is my hope that Ash Carter will be able to convince Congress to do away with sequestration,” Smith said.

HASC Tactical Air and Land Forces subcommittee Chairman Mike Turner, R-Ohio, wants the incoming secretary to convince President Obama to alter course on Ukraine and Russia.

Turner said Thursday he hopes Carter’s confirmation will lead Obama to “stop stalling and listen to his own secretary of defense, members of Congress in his own party, and numerous military and civilian leaders who have all recommended action to empower the Ukrainian army so that they can successfully confront mounting Russian aggression.”

Senate Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Jack Reed, D-R.I., expects results fast, saying in a statement he expects Carter to “hit the ground running.”

Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., a former SASC ranking member, criticized the White House for having “no coherent strategy” on Russia, China, Iran and the Islamic State.

Inhofe expects Carter to change that.

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