Emerging threats, Senate shift could change U.S. budget debate: Boeing

Reuters News
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Posted: Oct 30, 2014 5:33 PM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Emerging threats such as Islamic State extremism and a possible switch to Republican control of the U.S. Senate could accelerate debate about the need to halt or ease mandatory cuts in the U.S. defense budget, a top Boeing Co executive said on Thursday.

Boeing was still urging U.S. lawmakers to reverse the cuts, which are due to resume in 2016, while at the same time working to reduce its own costs and prepare for further cuts, Chris Chadwick, chief executive of Boeing Defense Space and Security division, told Reuters in an interview.

However, rapid growth in Islamic State militant groups and Russia's actions in Ukraine were already prompting U.S. lawmakers to rethink the level of budgets and whether they had gone too far, and that debate could gain momentum if Republicans took control of the Senate, Chadwick said. He said U.S. military spending was already 25 percent below its peak during the height of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, with another 10 percent reduction on the horizon unless the budget cuts were reversed.

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Chris Reese)