July 23rd, 2012
10:31 PM ET
Reno, Nevada (CNN) – President Obama spoke to thousands of veterans Monday at the National Convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, but he also delivered a message to congressional Republicans.
"Stop playing politics with our military," Obama told the crowd here.
Responding to recent congressional votes demanding details on the $1.2 trillion dollars in government spending cuts set to go into effect at the start of next year, President Obama tried to shift responsibility back to Capitol Hill.
"There's no reason that should happen because people in Congress ought to be able to come together and agree on a plan, a balanced approach that reduces the deficit and keeps our military strong," Obama said.
Last week in a landslide vote, the House approved a bill asking the Obama administration to spell out what agencies and programs would be cut. The Senate attached a similar measure to the farm bill in June. Republicans say the cuts would hurt national security and cost jobs as businesses that contract with the Defense Department warn they will soon have to begin layoffs.
To stave off the cuts, the White House and many congressional Democrats want Republicans to agree to increase taxes on wealthier Americans as part of a deficit reduction plan, something the GOP has steadfastly resisted.
"There are a number of Republicans in Congress who don't want you to know that most of them voted for these cuts," Obama told the crowd of veterans. "Instead of making tough choices to reduce the deficit, they'd rather protect tax cuts for some of the wealthiest Americans even if it risks big cuts in our military."
House Republicans in turn accused President Obama of playing politics with the military.
"House Republicans have set forth a balanced plan that pays for the first year of automatic cuts to both defense and non-defense sectors by addressing the true drivers of our debt; mandatory spending," House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon (R-CA) said in a written statement. "The President and Senator Reid are the only parties who still refuse to come to the table. The President has a choice in how he deals with this crisis. He can begin to treat our troops as heroes, or he can continue to use them as leverage."