Colorado Congressman Jared Polis this week offered an amendment to reduce the size of the U.S. military presence in Europe from more than 80,000 troops to 35,000, including an immediate reduction of 7500 troops in the next six months. His amendment, which would have reduced government spending by hundreds of millions of dollars, was defeated by the House.
He released this statement:
“If we are serious about deficit reduction, then we need to get our ballooning defense budget under control,” said Polis. “My amendment would save hundreds of millions of dollars by getting most of the 80,000 troops out of Europe where they are no longer wanted or needed. We are no longer guarding against the Nazis or the Soviets. If we are to seriously tackle the budget deficit, we must find savings in every agency, including the Department of Defense, and reducing our military presence in Europe is the perfect place to start.”
The House of Representatives will vote this week on H.R. 1, the Full Year Continuing Appropriations Act, to fund federal government operations for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2011. This Republican legislation makes draconian cuts to virtually every sector of the federal government, except for the Defense Department.
“Our European allies are some of the richest countries in the world,” said Polis. “Why then are we subsidizing their defense spending? There is no reason for us to continue European defense spending while we every other aspect of our government is being severely cut. If Europe has made the decision that it can afford to spend less on defense and still feel secure, then we should be confident that we can spend less on their defense as well.”