Washington Is Shrieking at the Prospect of a Defense Budget Cut. But Would It Really Be So Bad?

Many say that Washington is more divided than ever, but political quarrels in the nation’s capital and beyond are easily cast aside to unify against even the mere suggestion that perhaps the defense department’s budget might be a bit too high.

That’s what happened when reports emerged late last week that Representative Kevin McCarthy had secured a deal with rogue Republicans to become the next House speaker. In exchange for their votes, the Freedom Caucus – a group of more rightwing House GOP lawmakers – received assurances that the federal budget will freeze at FY2022 levels, which could effectively mean a cut to the Pentagon budget by anywhere from $75bn to $100bn.

The shrieks from official Washington were almost immediate. Former GOP representative Liz Cheney, for example, accused McCarthy of “weaken[ing] our national defense for his own personal gain”, while the Democratic representative Abigail Spanberger said “cutting our nation’s defense spending is shortsighted and dangerous”, adding that “doing it for speaker votes is unconscionable”. Others went so far as to liken proponents of cutting the US military budget to being “pro-Russia”.

Let’s keep in mind that the reported deal in terms of defense spending would merely keep the DOD budget at its FY2022 level – the highest since the second wold war – one that both Cheney and Spanberger themselves supported with their votes authorizing it.

Read the full piece in The Guardian.