During the past 11 years, the United States has spent more than $1.3 trillion in Iraq and Afghanistan for two wars that were charged on the national credit card with no provision to pay for them.
Thankfully, the president ended the war in Iraq and we are drawing down in Afghanistan.
If properly redirected, the peace dividend achieved from ending these conflicts could have a major effect on deficit reduction.
But these savings are just the tip of the iceberg in cutting the fat at the Pentagon.
• Eliminating the purchase of obsolete spare parts for all branches of the military would save $369 billion over the next decade.
• Fully implementing the reforms recommended by the bipartisan defense acquisition panel would save $270 billion.
• Realigning our nuclear arsenal to meet 21st-century threats would save $113 billion.
The American people expect Democrats and Republicans to leave behind the overheated partisan rhetoric from both sides that has often produced congressional gridlock.
I know that we can do this because the alternative of letting the country go over the fiscal cliff is unthinkable.
My Republican friends and I approach major policy questions from very different perspectives, but we share a common love for this country and a mutual responsibility to act like adults and carry out the people’s business.
After all, that’s why the voters hired us to do this job.
Rep. William Lacy Clay, D-Mo., is a member of the Financial Services and Oversight and Government Reform committees.
Rep. Bill Cassidy has his blood drawn by Alesha Barbour during a free hepatitis screening in the Rayburn House Office Building hosted by the Congressional Viral Hepatitis Caucus to recognize "National Viral Hepatitis Testing Day."
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