McKeon says DOD's fiscal woes were avoidable


WASHINGTON (AP) — A senior House Republican says there is plenty of blame to go around for the pending automatic budget cuts that have put the U.S. military on the brink of a readiness crisis.

Rep. Howard "Buck" McKeon, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said Wednesday that neither Congress nor the Obama administration has "clean hands." He said the debt crisis forcing the cuts was decades in the making, yet both sides opted for the easy path "when we should have explored the bravery of restraint."

The Defense Department faces a $46 billion cut between March and September. The automatic cuts, which Pentagon officials say would degrade the military's ability to respond to a crisis, would be in addition to a $487 billion reduction in defense spending over the next decade.