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Mattis Addresses White House Reporters About Budget Uncertainty

08 February 2018

Mattis lectured lawmakers for allowing the military to operate "under debilitating continuing resolutions for more than 1,000 days during the past decade" whenever Republicans and Democrats were unable to reach a bipartisan agreement.

Mattis told the House Armed Services Committee that military aircraft will have to be grounded because there won't be enough spare parts and maintenance. "Our troops work tirelessly to accomplish every mission with increasingly inadequate and misaligned resources simply because Congress has not maintained regular order".

The House-passed version of the fiscal year 2018 National Defense Authorization Act would have prohibited the use of funds to extend New START unless Russian Federation returns to compliance with the INF Treaty.

Mattis said that the second line of effort in the defense strategy is to strengthen traditional alliances while building new partnerships.

Mattis' warning comes after an especially troubling 2017 that saw an uptick in high-profile deadly incidents outside of combat zones.

US officials have conducted short-notice, on-site inspections at Russian military bases and facilities through the treaty to verify data on Russia's strategic nuclear arsenal.

Defense Secretary James Mattis called on Congress today to get out of the "spectator's seat" and into the "driver's seat" of the budget process and commit to sustained Defense spending that he said is vital to USA military readiness and security. "The fact that our volunteer military has performed so well is a credit to their dedication and professionalism", Mattis said.

House lawmakers were expected to pass a continuing resolution later Tuesday that would keep the government funded through March 23 while also providing $659 billion to the Pentagon for the remainder of fiscal year 2018.

"To advance the security of our nation, these troops are putting themselves in harm's way, in effect signing a blank check payable to the American people with their lives", Mattis told the committee.

From left, House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind., Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wis., speaking, and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., right, meet with reporters following a closed-door GOP strategy session at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2018.

"Look, the Taliban still controls too much of the country", he said. "That support should not be conditioned on any other issue" such as spending on domestic programs. "We inherited this approach to security and prosperity from the greatest generation and it has served the United States well for 70 years", Mattis said.

"I worry that will wind up costing the men and women who serve ... the training and the equipment they need to carry out the missions that we all hear that we need", he said, while also admonishing President Donald Trump's requested $4.1 trillion federal budget alongside the recently passed $2 trillion tax cut. "All of those things are important", Smith said, calling Mattis" admonishment "patently absurd and insulting".

"You are going to gut everything else [outside the Defense Department] ... and if you gut everything else you create problems", he said.

Mattis Addresses White House Reporters About Budget Uncertainty