Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon, chairman of the Armed Services Committee, and Rep. C.W. Bill Young, chairman of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, plan to oppose any cuts to the Pentagon’s budget beyond those called for in the debt-limit deal’s initial round of reductions.
The two chairmen say they have assembled a group of almost 40 Republican lawmakers to influence the joint congressional committee charged with drafting a plan to trim up to $1.5 trillion in savings from the federal budget, reported CQ Today.
The challenge for staunch supporters of national security is overcoming the influence of the tea party movement. For the first time in decades, the Pentagon’s budget is vulnerable to deep cuts largely because tea party members are unwilling to consider raising taxes as part of discussions over reducing the nation’s debt, according to CQ.
After the agreement to raise the debt ceiling was reached at the beginning of the week, McKeon said he would support the deal “with deep reservations” due to the cuts in military spending it entails. In a written statement, he pleaded for the joint committee to spare the department from further cuts.
“What is clear is we have cut what we can from the Department of Defense, and given what’s at stake it is essential that the joint committee include strong national security voices. There is no scenario in the second phase of this proposal that does not turn a debt crisis into a national security crisis. Defense cannot sustain any additional cuts either from the joint committee or the sequestration trigger,” McKeon said.