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Republicans Expanding Military, Homeland Security Budgets in Negotiations

I mentioned this in passing in my earlier budget post, but this is a pretty brazen move:

Mr. Schumer said Democrats were urging Republicans to consider reducing some of the automatic annual spending in Agriculture, Treasury and Justice Department programs to reach a target of about $33 billion in cuts rather than insisting that it all come out of what is known in budget parlance as discretionary accounts.

A Democrat involved in the negotiations, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said alternative spending cuts from the White House and Senate Democrats would range up to $8 billion. But to the Democrats’ dismay, not only were Republicans resisting those cuts, they were also proposing more spending than the Pentagon wants for military and homeland security programs.

This seems like a late entry into this fight. Without warning, Republicans are building up the budgets for the military and homeland security, at the same time that they want to slash the discretionary spending budget. If you think about how many districts across the country have cash cows for the military-industrial complex, this makes perfect sense.

Anyone who told you that these new Tea Party conservatives were interested in cutting the defense budget was being incredibly naive. Either that, or the Tea party faction themselves were naive by putting the budget into the hands of establishment Republican appropriators who would immediately try to fatten the wallets of their contributors and create the deficits that would have to be filled through shreds in the social safety net.

The priorities couldn’t be more clear.

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David Dayen

David Dayen