Bill to Balance Budget Calls for Defense Cuts

Legislation introduced last week by freshman Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) to balance the budget in five years would not shield defense spending from cutbacks, calling for a 6 percent reduction in the department’s budget in fiscal 2012.

“It, to me, is the ultimate compromise around here that will have to happen. Conservatives and conservative Republicans will have to acknowledge that being fiscally conservative also means they have to look at the military budget,” Paul said Thursday, according to CQ Today.

Paul’s plan would reduce domestic spending to 2008 levels and result in a $4 trillion cut over five years. The measure, co-sponsored by two fellow Republicans, would eliminate four federal agencies — Commerce, Education, Energy and Housing and Urban Development. Nuclear research, safety and weapons programs would be transferred to DOD. Other spending proposals are expected to be offered in the coming weeks as well, reported CQ Today.

To watch Paul’s press conference announcing the legislation, click here.

Meanwhile, Democratic and Republican negotiators are expected to continue talks while the House and Senate are on recess this week over a bill to fund the federal government through September. On Friday, President Obama signed the sixth continuing resolution of fiscal 2011 into law, providing the two sides three more weeks to reach a deal.

As Democrats and Republicans grow weary of passing stopgap funding bills, failure to strike an agreement by April 8 could prompt a government shutdown.

Dan Cohen
Dan Cohen

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