On Thursday evening, House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed the budget deal crafted by Republican congressman Paul Ryan and Democratic senator Patty Murray, chairs of their respective budget committees.
The resolution passed with 332 votes for it and 94 votes against it. Sixty-two Republicans voted against the bill, which had the support of House leadership.
In 2012, the Department of Defense spent a total of $651 billion, including the costs of fighting in Afghanistan. According to the budget plan submitted by the White House a few months ago, projected 2014 spending will be $547 billion. If, as seems nearly inevitable, the “sequestration” provision of the Budget Control Act is triggered, that figure will fall below $500 billion, a loss of more than 20 percent in just two years.
During his opening remarks at today's House Budget Committee hearing on the Department of Defense and the 2014 budget, Paul Ryan said, "The first duty of government is to keep us safe. And to keep us safe, our strategy should drive our budget. But under this administration, the budget is driving the strategy."
Jeff Zients, the acting director of the Office of Management and Budget, recently wrote an op-ed that appeared in newspapers around the country, and was also reproduced on the White House blog. Zients touts the 2014 budget belated released last week by President Obama:
With President Obama, there’s always a catch. In the 2014 budget he announced last week, Obama proposed a more accurate way of calculating the inflation rate for annual cost-of-living increases in Social Security. It’s a technical change in pursuit of honesty and good government. And if adopted, it would cause benefits to grow more slowly, though almost imperceptibly so. Republican leaders in Congress ought to be delighted since they had “championed”—Obama’s word—the idea in the first place.
Tulsi Gabbard, a congresswoman representing Hawaii's Second Congressional District, responds to President Obama's proposed budget by expressing concern over missile defense cuts. "It would also cut our missile defense budget, even as Hawai‘i and the rest of the country face direct and heightened threats from North Korea," she says in a statement.
Gabbard is a Democrat, who otherwise praises Obama's budget, except for president's proposed Social Security "cuts."
When President Obama released his first budget — entitled with no hint of irony, “A New Era of Responsibility” — he projected that deficit spending over the next five fiscal years (2010-14) would total $3.767 trillion. Now, Obama has released his fifth budget (which doesn’t seem to have a name).