WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary Ash Carter on Thursday flatly rejected the federal budget resolution approved by the US House of Representatives on Wednesday that would add billions of dollars to the defense budget without removing the threat of sequestration from other federal agencies.
In a speech delivered to a meeting of the Chiefs of Mission at the State Department, Carter said that the proposal passed by the House, which would give the Pentagon $96 billion in supplemental wartime funding in 2016, would “fail to solve the problem [of sequestration] while also undermining basic principles of accountability and long term planning.”
Overall, White House requested $534.3 billion in base budget authorities and $50.9 billion in supplemental war funds for the Pentagon, for a total of $585.3 billion.
But the House approved $499 billion in base authority and $96 billion in supplemental wartime funding, and the Senate has yet to approve its version.
Carter lashed out against the resolution, which failed also to save the agencies that the Pentagon works with overseas — the State Department, Treasury and Homeland Security — from sequestration.
“I cannot and will not be indifferent to cuts threatening” those departments, he told a room full of Chiefs of Mission at State’s headquarters in Washington, D.C. If other agencies lose money in the 2016 budget season, “the risks will accrue to our troops” in the field just as if his own department’s budget was cut, he said.