For Defense Cuts, Senate Democrats’ Plan Echoes Deficit Commission

National security spending would be cut by almost $900 billion over the next 10 years under the budget proposal introduced by Senate Democrats Monday.

The proposal of Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), chairman of the Budget Committee, offers no programmatic detail, but it matches the recommendation of the president’s bipartisan deficit commission for national security spending, which includes DOD, homeland security and veterans. President Obama, meanwhile, has instructed the Pentagon to identify $400 billion in cuts over the next 12 years.

Conrad contrasted his blueprint with the House-passed budget for fiscal 2012 which would hold security spending to an annual growth rate of between 1 percent and 3 percent for eight of the next 10 years. Security spending would drop 4 percent in FY 2012 and less than 1 percent in FY 2013. The House plan includes the $78 billion in deficit reduction then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates proposed earlier this year.

The Senate plan has little chance of going forward. Conrad said he hopes the plan would be considered by lawmakers and the White House negotiating an increase in the nation’s debt ceiling, reported Politico.

In the lengthy statement he delivered on the Senate floor presenting the Democratic budget framework, Conrad explained the need to impose deep spending cuts on the Pentagon. DOD employs 51 percent of all federal workers and an unknown number of contractors — a number between 1 million and 9 million.

Dan Cohen
Dan Cohen

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