U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Miami, issued the following statement regarding Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s defense budget announcement:
“I have long been concerned by the ability of our nation’s runaway spending and debt to weaken our national security, and now we are starting to see the real consequences. The president’s failure to tackle our debt is killing our economy, weakening our national security and threatening the very essence of America’s exceptionalism.
“Secretary Panetta’s announcement directly signals to our friends and adversaries America's diminished ability to project power on a global scale and defend our interests during a very uncertain time. With even more automatic cuts to our national security programs coming next year because of Washington’s failure to rein in the debt, this should be a wake-up call to Washington about the need to get our spending under control. As long as Washington politicians continue borrowing and spending money to grow government and do things government has no business doing, we will be imperiling our people’s security by forcing us to sacrifice strategic national security capabilities.
“I am particularly concerned about the impact these cuts will have on our security interests in the Western Hemisphere. Given the growing influence of Iran in Latin America, the proliferation of violent drug cartels and the dangerous behavior of tyrannical leaders, it is troubling that this president’s failures in Latin America continue to grow on both the diplomatic and security fronts.”