Thompson 6/27 (Mark, nat’l security writer @ TIME, http://battleland.blogs.time.com/2011/06/27/defense-on-the-chopping-block/) JPG
That's the word from Capitol Hill as detailed in this morning's lead story in the Washington Post: Freshman Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) could serve as a poster boy for the new breed of conservativeswho are eager to wipe out government waste and inefficiency, no matter where they find it. Kinzinger, an active-duty Air National Guardsman who flew missions in Iraq, fought successfully last month to cut a request for $100 million to buy new flight suits for Air Force pilots. The old ones, he argued, are good enough. Defense spending is “a pillar of Republican strength. It's a pillar of national strength. Look, I know there are sacred cows,” Kinzinger said in an interview. “But we cannot afford them anymore.”This growing GOP atttitude, plus the arrival of budget-cutter Leon Panetta as defense secretary on Friday, suggest President Obama's goal of cutting security spending by $400 billion over the coming 12 years won't be as tough as some predict -- and others fear.
Both sides of the aisle are willing to cut defense
Montgomery and Kane 6/26 (Lori and Paul, reporters @ Washington Times, http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/gop-compromise-on-debt-cut-military-spending/2011/06/25/AGPrGBmH_story.html?hpid=z3) JPG
As President Obama prepares to meet Monday with Senate leaders to try to restart talks about the swollen national debt, some Republicans see a potential path to compromise: significant cuts in military spending. Senior GOP lawmakers and leadership aides said it would be far easier to build support for a debt-reduction package that cuts the Pentagon budget — a key Democratic demand — than one that raises revenue by tinkering with the tax code. Last week, Republicans walked out of talks led by Vice President Biden, insisting that the White House taketax increases off the table. In listening sessions with their rank and file, House Republican leaders said they have found a surprising willingness to consider defense cuts that would have been unthinkable five years ago, when they last controlled the House. While the sessions have sparked heated debate on many issues, Rep. Peter Roskam (Ill.), the deputy GOP whip, said there are few lawmakers left who view the Pentagon budget as sacrosanct. “When we say everything is on the table, that’s what we mean,” said House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), the No. 3 leader who has been hosting the listening sessions in his Capitol offices. Freshman Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) could serve as a poster boy for the new breed of conservatives who are eager to wipe out government waste and inefficiency, no matter where they find it. Kinzinger, an active-duty Air National Guardsman who flew missions in Iraq, fought successfully last month to cut a request for $100 million to buy new flight suits for Air Force pilots. The old ones, he argued, are good enough. Defense spending is “a pillar of Republican strength. It’s a pillar of national strength. Look, I know there are sacred cows,” Kinzinger said in an interview. “But we cannot afford them anymore.”
Defense is on the chopping block
Business Record 5/31 (http://www.businessrecord.com/main.asp?SectionID=33&SubSectionID=96&ArticleID=13686) JPG
As the House Budget Committee worked on a Republican plan to cut more than $6 trillion of government spending over a decade, the panel's senior Democrat proposed a symbolic amendment saying national security costs should be included in any responsible deficit-reduction effort, Bloomberg reported. Seventeen of 22 committee Republicans, including Chairman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, joined all 16 Democrats in a vote backing Maryland Rep. Chris Van Hollen's measure."Historically, you've had a lot of Republicans who haverefused even to consider the possibility of cuts in the area of defense," said first-term Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah. "I don't think we have that luxury anymore." That makes the Pentagon budget - more than half of federal discretionary spending - a target for potential compromise as Congress and the White House seek a package of cuts before voting to raise the $14.3 trillion debt limit. "A lot of the new members recognize that if we are going to be serious about deficit reduction, you can't have any sacred cows and you have to take a hard look at defense," said Van Hollen, a member of a bipartisan group negotiating a debt-reduction plan with Vice President Joe Biden. "The budget committee vote was a clear indication that there's a lot of room for discussion."
For months, some defense experts have warned that the nation's growing deficit could morph into a national security problem, because it could force deep cuts in military spending. That day appears to have arrived sooner than they predicted. A week after the co-chairmen of President Obama's debt commission recommended cutting $100 billion from the Pentagon's budget over the next five years, a second high-profile group has proposed even deeper cuts. The proposal to save $1.1 trillion by freezingmilitaryspending after 2012 is part of a broader deficit reduction strategy released Wednesday by a panel headed by Alice Rivlin, who served as budget director under President Bill Clinton, and former Sen. Pete Domenici (R-NM)."There will be even more things on the chopping block there," says Gordon Adams, a defense budget official in the Clinton administration who has advised the Rivlin-Domenici group.
Because it consumes such a large share of the budget, reducing the deficit would be a much more daunting task if the Pentagon were held harmless from spending cuts, warn the deficit hawks. "If you don't go to the $700 billion defense budget to make some reductions, it's just hardto take that big abite out of any deficit,"says a spokesman for Rep. Norm Dicksof Washington, the current Democratic chairman of the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee.
Defense budget is on the chopping block – public disapproval Yang 6/28 (Clement, epoch times staff writer, http://www.theepochtimes.com/n2/united-states/congressional-republicans-open-to-defense-cuts-58382.html) JPG
Diminishing public support for the U.S.’s military operations abroad also plays a role in the willingness to deal with the defense budget. Polling suggests that the American public is losing the stomach for the 10-plus years of war. In a recent Pew Research Center/Washington Post poll, 56 percent of respondents were in favor of withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan as soon as possible. Other data suggests that Americans are more willing to accept cuts to defense rather than cuts to Medicare and Social Security. The debate over the defense budget began early last year during the showdown over the fiscal year 2011 budget. Neither side has meaningfully attempted to make substantial cuts to the defense budget in order to fix the deficit, with leaders on both sides fearing that deep defense cuts would endanger national security.
Defense spending on the chopping block—debt ceiling forces flexibility Teixiera 6/27 (Kathleen, senior director of government affairs, AGA Washington Insider Blog, http://agapolicyblog.org/2011/06/27/debt-ceiling-talks-continue/, accessed 7-1-11, CH)
The talks on finding a deal to increase the debt ceiling will continue this week as President Obama becomes more personally engaged in the discussions. The Washington Post reports that cutting defense spending could be the compromise that Republicans are willing to make since they refuse to give on the issue of raising taxes. Democrats have been insisting that if domestic spending is to be slashed in any agreement, Republicans should give a little on tax increases and reducing the defense budget. Republicans typically view the defense budget as “off the table,” but in these tough budget times and with a new rank and file that want to reduce government spending, the defense budget is officially on the chopping block.