Washington, DC – Today, House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Adam Smith released the following statement about the unveiling of the House Republicans’ national security agenda:
“The House Republicans’ national security agenda claims to provide ‘a better way’ to protect the United States, but in reality it offers many of the same talking points we have heard time and again without advancing the tough, smart solutions we need to address this incredibly complex global threat environment.
“Republicans continue to complain about a lack of resources for our military due to a situation that they created, and that they are not willing to fix. Our armed services face a readiness crisis caused by years of war and the constraints imposed by sequestration. But the way to address that is not to cut readiness by $11.6 billion, as House Republicans have proposed, and shortchange funding for our warriors in the field. We must begin to make smart choices about how we protect the United States, starting with a thorough reexamination of this agenda’s assertion that a $1 trillion, 30-year program to build thousands of new nuclear weapons should be our nation’s national security priority.
“This alleged ‘better way’ also fails to adequately advocate for the elevation of diplomacy and development, which are essential in advancing our national security goals. Development and diplomacy are about more than just accelerating economic growth and access to the Internet. As our world becomes more interconnected, we must better resource international engagement to strengthen, build, and establish enduring ties around the world. It fails to grasp the critical importance of that kind of comprehensive approach to national security. Diplomacy and development help to prevent the need for military action, always a more expensive option.
“In addition, we should be concerned about the potential threats to civil liberties implied by this agenda’s emphasis on domestic surveillance and the measures proposed to secure our borders. We must keep Americans safe in way that is just and smart, not one that alienates people whom we benefit from as partners and allies.
“The truth is that it is very difficult to see how this agenda’s rhetoric about American leadership fits with the dark turn the Republican Party took when it chose Donald Trump for the presidency. Their presumptive nominee has vocally criticized the basic principles of internationalism and commitment to our allies that have undergirded U.S. foreign policy for generations, and now House Republicans are stuck trying to rehabilitate basic policies like American support for NATO.
“In reality, many of those important decisions are made in the Oval Office, not in Congress, and this agenda cannot obscure the risks created by such a dangerous nominee. The Republicans are calling for ‘a better way,’ but what they really need is a better way than the path their own party has taken.”