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Rumsfeld to Congress: 'We Need the Money in that Budget'

By Sgt. 1st Class Kathleen T. Rhem, USA
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 7, 2001 – Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is "not in a give-up mode" when it comes to the fiscal 2002 defense budget request before Congress now.

Rumsfeld spoke to reporters in the Pentagon Sept. 6, a day after presenting budget testimony to the Senate Appropriations Committee's Subcommittee on Defense. DoD has requested an $18.4 billion increase over the president's proposed fiscal 2002 budget.

"We need the money that's in that budget," Rumsfeld told the reporters. "We do need every nickel." He said he's confident the budget request will be enacted.

"When push comes to shove, the Congress and the American people tend to use good judgment about national security issues," he said. "I have every confidence that we'll end up with our budget."

He did admit, though, that there may be "curlicues, roller coaster rides, and ups and downs" in the negotiation process before lawmakers reach a decision.

The bill "provides the kind of approach that is appropriate for the year 2002," Rumsfeld said. "This budget is about balancing the risks that exist to our national security. They're operational risks. They are risks that involve the question of modernization, that have to be balanced ... against operational risks."

As with any balancing act, there will be those who aren't happy and criticize the result, Rumsfeld explained. "In every case when you're balancing things, something gives and something gets," he said, noting that policy makers make judgment calls about what the priorities should be.

The secretary told American Forces Press Service he's committed to working with the Congress to get the full budget request passed.

"The full budget has important things that will affect the lives of the men and women of the armed services," he said. "The president has also announced three times in the last month that those are his priorities, defense and education, so we'll be working hard for them."

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