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Thu Feb 27, 2014, 10:20 AM

Forbes Begins Push For HASC Chair; Calls For New ‘Leadership’


HASC Seapower chairman Randy Forbes (R-VA).

Forbes Begins Push For HASC Chair; Calls For New ‘Leadership’
By Colin Clark
on February 27, 2014 at 8:32 AM

WASHINGTON: Rep. Randy Forbes will, for now, deny that he is positioning himself for the coming battle for chairman of the biggest committee in Congress, House Armed Services, fondly known as the HASC.

But Forbes, one of three committee members regularly mentioned as having a good shot at the job, is clearly beginning to position himself for the November or December meetings of the House leadership where the chairmanship will be decided. He may deny it, but it certainly looked like Forbes began his pitch Tuesday, calling for new congressional “leadership” on defense and national security issues.

“We are going to have to have a new future congressional leadership,” he declared at yesterday’s Credit Suisse defense conference organized by Jim McAleese. When I asked him if he was quietly declaring himself for the position of HASC chairman, he artfully stepped right (where else could he go?), declared the current chairman would agree with most of his policy points and took a few shots at Sen. Harry Reid, a Democrat any GOP member of the House can agree to dislike.

Pointing to the dysfunctional, gridlocked, almost useless state of Congress (my words, not his), he said: “We used to have people on the left who didn’t want to pay for defense. Now, I’ve got people on the right who don’t want to spend anything on defense.” To a vigorous defender of defense spending and America’s global presence that is not good. What really worried him wasn’t so much those policy positions as that “the debate doesn’t occur” any more over how much to spend, let alone what to spend it on.

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