The bipartisan consensus in favor of keeping American military spending at astronomical levels forever rises is once again expressed in a new budget bill from House Republicans that would eliminate even the tiny defense spending cuts agreed to by both parties last year.
Some Republicans not wanting to flirt with national security have said they want to keep defense out of the negotiations surrounding the sequester, which are expected to last until after the November elections. Panetta has stated any further cuts could be “devastating,” but has insisted Congress should negotiate on taxes and spending in a comprehensive way without pulling defense.
The bill is expected to emulate some aspects of a proposal first introduced by House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon, R-Calif., in December. McKeon’s original bill would delay the first year of defense cuts mandated by the sequester, instead offering an equivalent amount through federal workforce cuts. Senate Armed Services Committee ranking member John McCain, R-Ariz., has introduced a similar measure.
Republican defense leaders have protested that the military was taking the brunt of spending cuts. But by firewalling defense from further cuts, House Republicans would need to pay for those expected cuts another way. At a House Budget Committee hearing, Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., told Panetta he felt entitlement spending should be on the table.“With regards to the Budget Control Act, an across-the-board $97 billion discretionary spending cut will be imposed on January 2, 2013, including devastating cuts to our national security,” Ryan said in statement provided to National Journal. “House Republicans are continuing their efforts to reprioritize the savings called for under the Budget Control Act, because our troops and military families shouldn’t pay the price for Washington’s failure to take action.”
Michael Steel, spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said in a statement, “The Speaker and Chairman McKeon are working towards a shared goal: ensuring that we have $1.2 trillion in additional deficit reduction, but doing it in a way that does not ‘hollow out’ our Armed Forces or jeopardize our national security.”
Isn’t it interesting how the leaders of both parties agree that even a miniscule cut to defense spending — a whopping $60 billion a year — would be “devastating” to the country’s national security. Because apparently spending only 46% of the entire world’s spending on the military instead of 47% would risk … what, exactly? Not only do they have only fear to sell, it’s an entirely irrational fear.