National Journal reported last week that the House GOP budget, which Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) unveiled today, would “pull the defense-spending cuts [of more than $500 billion] mandated by sequestration off the table.” How will the Republicans achieve this goal? They will ask 6 congressional committees to come up with reductions which means that food stamps and other social safety net programs are likely to face cuts.
But the new GOP budget not only prevents further military spending cuts at the expense of the less well-off, it actually increases funds for defense and other security related spending. Last year, the Obama administration and Congress agreed to $487 billion in military spending cuts as part of the Budget Control Act but the Republicans want to roll back about half of those reductions as well:
The Ryan plan also increases national defense spending to $554 billion in 2013, an increase of $8 billion over the $546 billion that was agreed to under the Budget Control Act.
That would reverse some of the $487 billion in cuts that the Pentagon has planned to implement over the next decade. Over 10 years, the Ryan budget would spend $6.2 trillion on defense, which is higher than the $5.97 trillion level set under the Budget Control Act.
The GOP defends the increases, claiming that President Obama’s defense budget — which includes the $487 billion in military spending cuts — is not sufficient to protect against “security challenges” that Defense Secretary Leon Panetta outlined at a recent congressional hearing. But Panetta himself defended Obama’s defense budget last month, saying that U.S. forces will remain capable of beating “any adversary, anytime, anywhere.”
Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey also said the DOD budget, with the $487 billion reduction over 10 years, “will not lead to a military in decline. Rather, this budget will maintain our military’s decisive edge and help sustain America’s global leadership.” Dempsey also said that correlating military strategy “has real buy-in” among senior military leaders.
CAP’s Lawrence Korb recently noted that DOD’s “baseline budget has gone up for 13 straight years in real terms” and “it is now higher than it was on average in the Cold War and higher than the next 17 nations in the world combined.” Apparently House Republicans don’t think that’s quite enough.