HOSTILE TAKEOVER: Republicans Kick Off House Majority By Clawing Each Other Over Defense Budget
House Republicans are kicking off their new majority by fighting among each other after Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) brokered a deal with far-right lawmakers that would cut tens of billions of dollars from national defense spending, POLITICO’s Connor O’Brien reported.
“The bulk of what McCarthy and conservatives tentatively agreed to, particularly when it comes to spending deals that will need Democratic sign-off to become law, falls far short of a guarantee. And for other corners of the GOP conference, the giveaways to win over more than a dozen of McCarthy’s conservative critics will be tough to swallow,” O’Brien wrote.
Per the report, “less than two weeks after cementing another major increase to the Pentagon budget, lawmakers are now talking about going the opposite direction — and are even raising the specter of across-the-board cuts that rocked the establishment just over a decade ago. An emerging deal between Speaker Kevin McCarthy and conservatives who initially opposed his bid for the gavel looks to exact deep spending cuts. This comes amid a looming partisan fight over the debt limit, compounding fears that overall spending is poised for a return to automatic reductions known as sequestration.”
According to O’Brien, “the nascent pact does not make a specific commitment on defense spending.” The report also points out that “Many Republicans have sought to quash chatter of Pentagon cuts, noting they could instead look to make reductions from the non-military side of the ledger. But if the Pentagon is not spared, reverting to last year’s budget levels would amount to a roughly 10 percent cut, wiping out a $75 billion increase enacted last month.”
Texas GOP Rep. Tony Gonzales, a U.S. Navy veteran is particularly upset about the deal.
“This has a proposed billions of dollar cut to defense, which I think is a horrible idea when you have [an] aggressive Russia in Ukraine, you have a growing threat of China in the Pacific,” said Gonzales on CBS’s “Face the Nation” Sunday.
“How am I going to look at our allies in the eye and say, ‘I need you to increase your defense budget,’ but yet America is going to decrease ours?” Rep. Mike Gallagher, meanwhile, warned that the votes might not be there, saying, “There’s a ton of defense hawks that are necessary to get to the math of 218.”
Meanwhile, Rep. Mike Waltz (R-Fla.), an Army veteran and Armed Services Committee member, issued a dire warning during a conference call with McCarthy.
“Seems like we could be backing ourselves into sequestration,” he said, according to Politico.
Read the full report at Politico.
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