Republican Christie, in speech, to urge more U.S. defense spending

Reuters News
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Posted: May 18, 2015 10:48 AM

By Emily Stephenson

(Reuters) - New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who is considering a bid for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, plans to urge Congress to abandon its budget caps and boost defense spending, according to excerpts of a speech he will give on Monday.

In the excerpts, released by Christie's political action committee, he urged more money to buy ships for the U.S. Navy and state-of-the-art planes for the Air Force.

"We need to give our men and women in uniform the resources they need to get the job done – and we owe it to them," Christie plans to say in a speech in New Hampshire on Monday.

Christie has not formally announced a White House campaign, but he has made numerous appearances in New Hampshire, which holds one of the Republican party's first presidential nominating contests.

He has made a series of speeches to highlight his policy ideas, including plans to curb spending on Social Security and Medicare.

The governor has faced political turmoil in New Jersey, where two former Christie allies were indicted and another pled guilty to charges related to a 2013 scandal involving a massive traffic jam on the George Washington Bridge.

On Monday, Christie will criticize spending limits required by the 2011 Budget Control Act, which Congress passed to bring federal spending under control and end a political standoff over raising the government debt limit.

He called, instead, for "modest increases in defense spending through the end of the decade that will make a massive difference to our troops."

Christie will also discuss, in his speech, threats the United States faces around the world. In the excerpts, Christie said fears that U.S. intelligence operations have grown inappropriately large and intrusive were unfounded, spurred by Hollywood depictions of the government spying on its citizens.

"Let me be clear: All these fears are baloney. When it comes to fighting terrorism, our government is not the enemy," Christie said.

He will say he is skeptical that Iran will meet its obligations under a nuclear deal currently being negotiated, and that the United States should tie its sanctions regime to Iran's activities in the region that are against U.S. interests.

(Editing by Bernadette Baum)