Pelosi says spending freeze should apply to defense

WASHINGTON, Jan 27 (BestGrowthStock) – Speaker of the U.S. House of
Representatives Nancy Pelosi broke ranks with President Barack
Obama on Wednesday and said his proposed spending freeze on
domestic programs should also cover defense expenditures.

“Everybody has to make a sacrifice,” Pelosi was quoted as
saying in an interview with Politico, a Washington-based
publication, shortly before Obama’s scheduled address to a
joint session of Congress.

A Pelosi spokesman confirmed the Politico report and said
that the speaker was referring to cuts in defense contracts and
praised the work of the U.S. armed forces.

Countering Republican efforts to paint him as a big
spender, Obama was expected to announce in his speech to
Congress his proposal for a three-year freeze on some
non-security domestic spending programs.

Pelosi said defense spending should also be cut.

“If you’re asking everybody else in the country who has an
interaction with the federal government — and that means our
states and cities and all the rest, too — to cut back, then I
think we have to subject every federal dollar to the very
harshest scrutiny,” Pelosi was quoted as saying by Politico.

Pelosi, an early foe of the Iraq war who has not embraced
Obama’s call to increase U.S. troops in Afghanistan, said it’s
“hard to make the case” to exempt the Pentagon from a freeze.

She said there has to be “some room” to cut “five percent”
from the defense budget by targeting waste among contractors
and the defense bureaucracy — provided such cutbacks did not
hurt troops in the field, commanders or veterans.

Pelosi questioned the fairness of Obama’s proposal,
designed to protect spending on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars
without arousing opposition from backers of the two conflicts.

“If there is going to a spending freeze, it should be
across the board. That is to say, we all want a strong national
defense, and we want to fund it in an appropriate way,” she
said. “But we’re not here to protect defense contractors …
and the fact is, if we have to cut spending, we should subject
every dollar to that same scrutiny.”

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(Reporting by Thomas Ferraro, editing by Anthony Boadle)
([email protected]; +1-202-789-8015;
Reuters Messaging: [email protected]))

Pelosi says spending freeze should apply to defense