Defense Spending

GOP Budget Plan Reverses Some Defense Spending Reductions

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Credit: House.gov

Republicans in Congress never really liked sequestration. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) was always quite clear about this: "I don't like the sequester," he said last month. The primary reason that Boehner and other House Republicans didn't like the sequester was that its spending reductions fell heavily on a top GOP priority—defense spending. But the GOP decided to let the sequester take effect anyway, in part because they felt like they had to. After a defeat at the polls in November and a fiscal cliff deal that raised tax rates without cutting spending, the Republican majority in the House needed to show that they had the power to make something happen in a town run by Democrats.

So they let the sequester go through. They needed to. For show, as much as anything else. But the problem, from the GOP's perspective, is that doing so leaves those pesky defense reductions in place.

Which is why House Republicans are now trying to make something else happen: a reversal of some of the sequester's defense spending reductions. On Wednesday, nearly every House Republican voted for a continuing resolution that would provide $982 billion in discretionary funding for the government to stay for the next six months. That keeps spending in line with the sequester's topline figure. But the House CR also quietly restores about $10 billion in funding to the Department of Defense budget.

Was this always the plan? We've seen plenty of warnings that the sequester's reductions wouldn't stick. And former Republican House Majority Leader Tom Delay, in the midst of a day of meetings with the current GOP about sequestration strategy, openly suggested that the defense reductions "can always be replaced during the appropriations process, after the cuts are put into place." So this doesn't come entirely as a surprise.

This isn't the final legislation, of course. In order for the continuing resolution to pass, the Senate must still pass its own version, and then any conflicts between the two versions must be ironed out. But it hints at a possible Republican game plan going forward: allow defense budget reductions to occur, at least for a bit. And then quietly start the process of attempting to reverse those reductions a little while later.

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  1. “I just need a fix, man. Just to get me through the next few months. I swear I’ll kick the habit, but I’m hurting right now, man. Hurting real bad.”

  2. And this is the weak link.
    because one you introduce a restoration of funding for defense, the Democrats and every special interest, are going to demand that THEY get some funding back too.
    Why should defense get money when needy families are having their benefits cut?
    What about the nations farmers?
    What about the teachers?
    What about the children?
    What about our first responders, park rangers, public broadcasting?

    As you as you break the agreement of “everyone gets a cut, across the board”, everyones going to start fighting to get their own piece of the pie back.

    1. Everyone wants to cut government, just not the part that benefits them.

  3. Republicans in Congress never really liked sequestration.

    News at 11.

    1. In other news, the sky is blue.

  4. Dear House GOP – “No, Fuck You, Cut Spending”.

    That includes the money going to your pals in the defense contractor ranks. Sorry.

  5. GOP just can’t stand prosperity. Just as it looks like Obama stuck his foot in it – AND a lot of people noticed – along comes the party of stupid to toss its version of a lifeline.

    People love change in the abstract, they love spending cuts as a concept, but when they realize it effects them, too, the brakes can’t be hit fast or hard enough. Sorry, fellas; no sacred cows, not even the ones in uniform.

  6. “And former Republican House Majority Leader Tom Delay, in the midst of a day of meetings with the current GOP about sequestration strategy, openly suggested that the defense reductions “can always be replaced during the appropriations process, after the cuts are put into place.”

    Why isn’t Delay in prison? Wasn’t he convicted of some felonies?

  7. Now we can restore funding to rainbows and puppies which were cruelly wiped out with the sequester!

  8. Yes, “defense” spending is all about protecting the homeland from attacks, and has nothing to do with maintaining bases and commitments in ungrateful European countries and elsewhere around the world.

    Not a dime can be cut from “defense.” It’s already been cut to the bone.

  9. If only the Red Menace wasn’t ready to pour through the Fulda Gap, we could close down many of the European bases

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