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McKeon confirmed to new committee post

Congressman says his priority will be preserving military spending

Posted: June 16, 2009 7:26 p.m.
Updated: June 17, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Congressman Howard “Buck” McKeon was confirmed as ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee Tuesday, making him the strongest Republican voice on the committee, according to an aide.

McKeon, R-Santa Clarita, was confirmed by the Republican Conference Tuesday morning to take the reins as the ranking member. The post was vacated two weeks ago to the day when John McHugh, R-N.Y., stepped down to accept an appointment by President Barack Obama as the Secretary of the Army.

“The congressman finds that (President Barack Obama’s) administration and Defense Secretary Robert Gates are changing national security as we know it,” said McKeon’s spokeswoman Lindsey Mask, adding that McKeon’s focus will be on sustaining military funding to maintain national security, she added.

Shortly after the confirmation vote, McKeon addressed the Armed Services Committee on the authorization of the National Defense Authorization Act, which provides much of the funding for the military and is the largest piece of legislation that comes before the Armed Services Committee.

McKeon detailed how proposed funding cuts to the military could impact national security.

“In a year where Iran and North Korea have demonstrated the capability and intent to pursue intercontinental ballistic missiles and nuclear weapon programs, the elements of a genuine national security threat, it would be irresponsible not to fund programs that provide long-range missile defense that protects the homeland,” he said.

“Are we so confident in our diplomatic efforts with Iran and North Korea that we can afford a nearly 90-percent cut in European Missile Defense and a 35-percent cut to our homeland missile defenses in Alaska and California?” McKeon asked.

During Tuesday’s Armed Services Committee meeting, McKeon emphasized the need to secure funds for a missile-defense system. “If there are discretionary dollars available, one of this committee’s priorities should be to restore this funding,” he said.



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