McKeon Insists Budget Deal Must Relax Defense Cuts
Rep. Buck McKeon (R-Calif.), chairman of the Armed Services Committee, told Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on Friday that he would not support a fiscal 2014 budget agreement that does not provide some relief from the $52 billion in defense cuts imposed under sequestration.
Ryan is chairing the House-Senate budget conference charged with setting a FY 2014 topline spending level and, possibly, replacing some of the sequester cuts.
Another GOP defense hawk, Rep. Mac Thornberry (Texas), similarly said on Friday that he would not favor a spending deal that allowed the entire sequester to be applied to the Pentagon’s budget. “That would be tough,” he said, reported CQ.
McKeon and Thornberry both want to shield the defense budget from the entire sequester, but they have not specified how large of an automatic cut they would settle for.
Two other Republican defense hawks that serve on the Appropriations Committee — Reps. Tom Cole (Okla.) and Jack Kingston (Ga.) — have indicated they likely could support a budget deal that leaves the entire sequester in place on the defense budget, according to the story.
“If we can’t come to an agreement, that’s what it will be,” said Cole, a member of the defense appropriations subcommittee and one of the budget conferees. Kingston is calling for lawmakers to allow agencies flexibility to allocate the across-the-board cuts if they can’t be protected from sequestration.