The Blog

Republicans Vote Against Slashing Defense

9:41 AM, Jul 11, 2011 • By DANIEL HALPER
Widget tooltip
Single Page Print Larger Text Smaller Text Alerts

Politico reports that Republicans are standing up for a strong national defense:

After months of tough talk, House Republicans ran away from defense cuts last week with the great majority opposing even modest reductions at the expense of military bands or the Pentagon’s sponsorship of NASCAR races to promote recruitment.

The $649.2 billion appropriations bill, including $118.6 billion for wars overseas, sailed through Friday with only a dozen Republicans in opposition. And when conservative freshman Rep. Mick Mulvaney of South Carolina proposed to freeze core Pentagon spending at 2011 levels, he was run over by almost three-quarters of his party.

A bipartisan compromise, which would have preserved an $8.5 billion increase, fared no better, getting just 47 Republicans — less than half the number that voted to wipe out the entire Food for Peace program only weeks ago.

This presents Republican leadership in the House with another reason not to support a bad budget deal that would cut defense spending: House Republicans wouldn't likely support any such deal. 

As Max Boot noted, "The Hill newspaper ... claims that Republican budget negotiators have been discussing cutting defense by $600 billion to $700 billion—considerably more than the already indefensible $400 billion in cuts that Obama has said he would like to see over the next decade." And while John Boehner reportedly rejected that deal because it called for raising taxes, if last week's vote is any indication, he'd be wise to realize that his House Republicans don't believe the solution to our problems is a weak defense. As Boot warned, "If Republicans acquiesce in ruinous cuts to the defense budget, they will cease to be known as Ronald Reagan’s heirs. Instead they will be remembered as the party of William E. Borah, Hamilton Fish III, and Gerald Nye. Remember those GOP giants of the 1930s? They thought a strong defense was unaffordable and unnecessary. But their reputations collapsed on December 7, 1941, when we learned (not for the last time) the price of unreadiness. That is a lesson today’s Republicans should remember as they negotiate over the budget."

Recent Blog Posts