Defense Hawks Opt against Reversing Sequester in Authorization Bill
Republican Sens. John McCain (Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (S.C.) will not use the fiscal 2012 defense authorization bill now on the Senate floor to attempt to undo the automatic spending cuts that would dramatically scale back defense spending starting in 2013, although the two lawmakers have not dropped plans to blunt the sequester’s impact on the Pentagon’s budget.
McCain, ranking member of the Armed Services Committee, and Graham still are working on a fix in the wake of the congressional debt supercommittee’s failure to reach agreement on a deficit reduction plan.
The two senators could use the remaining FY 2012 omnibus spending bill as a vehicle to reverse the cuts, but it is more likely they will wait until next year to introduce a proposal, reported CQ Today.
McCain and Graham are not the only lawmakers interested in shielding DOD from the need to find $500 billion in additional savings through 2021. In a speech Tuesday at the Heritage Foundation, Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) indicated he was most interested in finding a solution that shifted at least some of the cuts designated to fall on the defense budget to other federal programs.
“Number one, we absolutely need to stick to the $1.2 trillion in spending cuts that are scheduled. I think it’s important they be reconfigured so they don’t land disproportionately on our defense budget as they are currently scheduled, but we need to make sure that they happen,” Toomey, who was one of the 12 members of the supercommittee, said according to a copy of his remarks obtained by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.