Even in the face of these cuts, our close relationship with the Department of Defense and the federal government will continue, and I intend to continue fighting for every dollar we can get. I helped fight off an effort to decommission the USS George Washington, which could have cost thousands of jobs. I helped convince the State Department to choose Fort Pickett as the home of the Foreign Affairs Security Training Center, bringing as many as 500 jobs and millions in investment along with it.
Federal spending will continue to be an asset to our economy, but there is no question that this foolish sequestration policy, borne out of a dysfunctional congress, is doing real damage to our economy and to many Virginians' quality of life.
For me, this obligation is also personal. My dad is a West Point graduate who served in Korea and then was part of the United Nations peacekeeping force in Trieste, where I was born. My father-in-law fought in the Battle of the Bulge and was awarded two Purple Hearts. I know we owe veterans and their families the best our nation can offer.
We must work swiftly to fix the deficiencies at the Veterans Administration and veterans' hospitals, we must do more to help ease the transition for military veterans to civilian life, and we must continue efforts to maximize opportunities for and adequately support military families, who sacrifice so much.
Allen noted that the attacked on U.S. embassies last month are examples of why sequestration is dangerous. Allen also singled out U.S. foreign aid for Egypt, saying he did not think a dollar should be sent there until the country's leaders prove they're going to support the ongoing effort against terror.
Allen, who has made those defense cuts the centerpiece of his campaign of late, offered only vague solutions. He said repealing President Obama's health care law would help, although the Congressional Budget Office says repeal would raise the deficit over 10 years, not lower it. "The men and women in our armed forces should never be used as bargaining chips to raise taxes on job-creating small businesses," he said.
Marshall, who led the House fight against Thorne-Begland's confirmation, said he opposed the nominee because as a Navy officer 20 years ago, Thorne-Begland spoke out on national television against the "don't ask, don't tell" policy on gays in the military just put in place by Pres. Bill Clinton
Allen, however, didn't pounce on Obama. Instead, he recalled the gravity and anxiety of sending U.S. troops into Afghanistan after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist strikes. "In my estimation, it's the most solemn decision a president has to make," Allen said. "I have made that decision as far as Iraq and Afghanistan."
"The concern I have is not whether we have a (congressional) authorization of force, it's whether or not our military is going to have the equipment, the armament, the up-to-date technology that is paramount as they're trying to protect our freedoms," he said. "I'm really worried about the military readiness of our country."
"The concern I have is not whether you have an authorization of force," Allen said. "I really worry about the military readiness of our country, regardless of whether or not there's an authorization of the use of force."
Allen said much of the federal spending during his Senate term was necessary to bolster the military after the 2001 terrorist attacks.
"I cannot believe we're going to blame $3 trillion in spending on war spending," Radtke shot back. "I don't remember Medicare Part D, and I don't remember No Child Left Behind, being a part of war spending. That is not why we had $3 trillion in debt."
Allen said the economy was out of control "because of the overspending, over-regulating . big government policies of President Obama, Tim Kaine and the Washington liberals."
Immediately after the debate, a Kaine spokeswoman criticized the Republican candidates, saying a balanced approach was needed on economic issues: "The Republican all-cuts approach would not only leave programs like TRICARE, veterans job training, and national defense vulnerable, but their gridlock politics will fundamentally jeopardize military preparedness and economic growth."
He said after the debate that much of the increased spending he supported from 2001 to 2006 was for important national defense and security purposes, including the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
WEBB: I support the donít ask, donít tell rule. I think that the military is a different environment. Itís one where weíve always had gays in the military, we always will.
Q: So you should keep your orientation to yourself if it is homosexual?
WEBB: At this point, yes. I just think itís a practicality issue.
Q: Mr. Miller, should we keep donít ask, donít tell?
MILLER: No, it needs to be modified. It is costing us $200 million or more a year, itís costing us the ability to recruit and retain very capable people. We need to come up with a more practical way.
Q: Do you think people should be able to be openly gay in the military?
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