Under the Radar, Dems Inexplicably Block Missile Defense (Updated)
Perhaps no part of the Obama administration's planned Defense Department budget makes less sense than its effort to slash $1.2B from missile defense programs for FY 2010.
In light of the recent behavior of North Korea and the reminder that we face the prospect of a nuclear-armed revolutionary Islamic state in Iran, a group of Republican congressmen on the House Armed Services Committee on Tuesday offered a series of amendments seeking to reverse the proposed cuts.
Sources on the Committee tell Pajamas Media that the Committee Democrats blocked the amendments -- seemingly unaware that earlier in the day Obama had deemed North Korea's nuclear ambitions to be a "grave threat" or that administration officials were reporting that North Korea could have an ICBM capable of reaching the U.S. west coast within five years. Minority Whip Eric Cantor told Pajamas Media: "As we watch what is going on with North Korea and the brutal regime in Iran, Democrat efforts to cut missile defense programs are not only misguided, but dangerous. As our enemies ramp up, it makes no sense to cut important defense and national security programs."
As detailed by the Republican House Armed Services Committee website, the proposed amendments included:
Restore $120 million to Continue Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) Fielding in Alaska. The Obama administration cut funding for missile interceptors scheduled to be deployed. Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH), the ranking member of the Committee's Strategic Forces Subcommittee, offered an amendment to restore $120 million in funding to allow the Department of Defense to continue fielding 44 interceptors and complete construction of Missile Field 2 in Alaska.
Restore the Obama Administration's $1.2 Billion Cut to the National Missile Defense System. Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) offered an amendment to restore completely the $1.2 billion that the Obama administration cut from the national missile defense system. The amendment included authorization to fully fund the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system and emplace all 44 interceptors. It also funds the Airborne Laser, Kinetic Energy Interceptor, the Multiple Kill Vehicle, and the Space Tracking and Surveillance System, all systems that were cut in the administration's budget request.
Restore Funding for Long-Range Missile Defense in Poland and the Czech Republic. Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH) offered an amendment to secure $500 million in the Missile Defense Agency budget for a missile defense system in Europe to protect the U.S. homeland and our European allies.
Prohibit Kinetic Energy Interceptor (KEI) Booster Termination. Reps. Rob Bishop (R-UT) and Doug Lamborn (R-CO) offered language to require the Department of Defense to suspend the recent termination of the Kinetic Energy Interceptor (KEI) program until Congress receives a scientific report on boost-phase Missile Defense programs. This report was mandated by Congress in the Fiscal Year 2009 Defense Authorization Act. The Bishop-Lamborn amendment would also require the Department of Defense to continue the planned KEI booster test firing this year.
Restore Funding for the Airborne Laser Program. Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) offered an amendment to restore $237 million to the Airborne Laser Program, to be used for emergency operational capability, testing, and to enhance multi-mission capability.
What happened? The Democrats parried and blocked all of these amendments.