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Cutting And Running Away: McKeon And McCain Vote For Mandatory Defense Cuts But Now Don’t Want Them

By Zaid Jilani  

"Cutting And Running Away: McKeon And McCain Vote For Mandatory Defense Cuts But Now Don’t Want Them"

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McKeon wants to run away from the cuts he voted for.

This past August, Congress passed a law requiring a special super committee to design a deficit reduction plan. If this committee failed, then there would be an automatic sequester to cut $1.2 trillion, dividing among non-defense domestic spending and defense spending.

Now that the super committee has announced its failure, these cuts are supposed to be enacted. But they won’t be put in place until 2013, and some in Congress are trying to stop the defense portion of these cuts. House Armed Services Committee chairman Rep. Buck McKeon (R-CA) will be introducing legislation to prevent these automatic cuts from ever occurring, and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) says he is working on a similar plan in the Senate.

But it is disingenuous for these lawmakers to now be defending defense pork. After all, both McKeon and McCain supported the bill that created the super committee and mandated these defense cuts if the committee failed.

McKeon actually went on a local news show soon after the passage of the bill and praised its slated cuts, actually saying that he wish it had cut more:

HOST: Give me your assessment of how [the super committee deal] went down. Was this a major coup for the Republican Party?

MCKEON: I don’t think anybody was overjoyed, all of us probably would’ve liked to see more cuts. I think we got all we could get. And that’s good. [...] So, that’s a good thing. Because we’ve been spending way too much money that we don’t have. We’re borrowing over 40 cents for every dollar that we spend. But the apple is so big that it makes the bite seem like it was way too small.

Watch it:

Meanwhile, McCain called the deal “not something that I would’ve written but it is a step forward.” For both these members of Congress to praise and support the super committee law and now to try to undermine it is an act of stunning hypocrisy. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said earlier this month that he feels “bound” by the super committee military spending cuts sequester. “I would feel bound. It was part of the agreement, and so either we succeed or we’re in the sequester,” he said. But McKeon and McCain appear to be cutting and then running away — they’re happy to posture as deficit hawks but then can’t follow through.

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