Proposed defense cuts divide House Republicans

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(U.S Army Photo by SPC. Davis Pridgen)

How will congressional Republicans reconcile their hawkish, strong defense spending roots with the fiercely fiscally conservative, isolationist Tea Party freshmen?

Cracks have been forming. Last month, Politico reported how sophomore Rep. Tom Rooney (R-Fla.) rallied conservative freshmen to beat his own party leadership  in a House vote  to cut $450 million for a competitive engine for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

Our own Rick Maze, of Military Times, reports that Republicans are at now odds over the controversial “Path to Prosperity” budget proposed by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), the Republican House Budget Committee chairman.

Ryan’s budget, which includes a $37 billion decrease from the yet-to-be-approved defense spending request for the current fiscal year. The Obama administration had called for cuts of $78 million over five years.

Rep. Buck McKeon (R-Calif.), the House Armed Services Committee chairman, is among those who want to spend more, as does  the conservative Heritage Foundation, whose own plan calls for a $25 billion to $50 billion increase in the planned 2012 through 2016 budgets.

The Heritage Foundation’s vast smorgasbord of force structure increases, aimed at homeland security and at the Asian and Pacific regions, gives zero to the Air Force, but a veritable fleet of  ships and submarines to the Navy and Marines — and missile batteries, a corps headquarters, as well as  tanker, Stryker and aviation brigades to the Army.

One thing’s for sure: Defense industry lobbyists have been making their voices heard. As The Hill’s John T. Bennett reports, defense officials and advocates have been targeting Tea Party freshmen.

“The defense industry only has one customer, and that customer is a political system. That means contractors must get along with whoever is in power, regardless of ideology,” the Lexington Institute’s Loren Thompson told The Hill. “The big question the companies are asking themselves right now is whether the Tea Party really is in power, or will it be smothered by proponents of the status quo on both sides of the aisle?”

 

[via Politico, Military Times, New York Times, The Hill]

 

 

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4 Comments

  1. This is all about the power of military contractors who wield enormous power in Washington.
    Everyone knows that the department of defense is ripe with fraud, waste, poor oversight, and overbilling.
    Yet politicians…in particular Republican politicians would rather spend 35 billion dollars on a glorified “gas station in the sky” than to rebuild highways , roads, bridges and fund education dollars to keep America competitive.

    Look at it this way.

    We spend 750 billion dollars a year just in defense alone. More than all the other nations of the world combined. And yet 10 years later we still can’t even whip a bunch of illiterate Afghan peasants who have no tanks, no air force, no navy, no cruise missiles, no drones, no attack helicopters, no night vision goggles…and who wear flip flops instead of combat boots.

    If the defense department were a business…it would be bankrupt by now.

  2. a working guy on

    With responsible defense of our economy, there would be plenty of money for national defense and pothole-filling. If world trade is all about evading financial responsibility for a free, clean, and just society, then jobs and security will be sacrificed. Otherwise, we must see that imported goods and services pay the overhead costs of our marketplace, just the same as domestic producers and workers do.

  3. Maybe if someone making decisions were to go around and see what money actually gets spent on we wouldn’t have to cut veterans benefits or retirees wouldn’t be able to get paid until “60”. I’ve recently redeployed from Kandahar and I’ve never seen more ridiculous things that our American taxpayer dollars were spent on. I know my company alone spent close to 1 million dollars on Afghan “cash for work” programs in the minimal months we did. Let me tell you something, it was command dictated that they wanted certain numbers of around 500 daily workers. In which about 80 percent did not work or did work that would be done over and over again just so commanders could have those numbers. I can’t imagine how much money is being spent on this waste throughout the rest of that country. Lets try understanding the “COIN” fight a little better and stop spending fifty thousand American dollars on an ice cream stand that will surely close when coalition leave that particular area.

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