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Jan 23rd, 2011

Tea Partiers: Defense Budget in the Mix for Cuts

Supporters of the conservative movement say nothing should be off limits


Cantor: ‘Everything’ is on the table for spending cuts (NBC “Meet the Press,” Jan. 23, 2011) — In an exclusive interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” House Majority Leader Eric Cantor tells David Gregory Republicans will not vote to raise the debt ceiling without “serious spending cuts and reform.” (6:03)

By Donna Cassata

January 23, 2011

WASHINGTON — Back home, supporters of the conservative Tea Party movement clamoring for the debt-ridden federal government to slash spending say nothing should be off limits. Tea Party-backed lawmakers echo that argument, and they are not exempting the military’s multibillion-dollar budget in a time of war.

That demand is creating hard choices for the newest members of Congress, especially Republicans who owe their elections and solid House majority to the influential grass-roots movement. Cutting defense and canceling weapons could mean deep spending reductions and high marks from tea partiers as the U.S. wrestles with a $1.3 trillion deficit. …

House Republican leaders specifically exempted defense, homeland security and veterans’ programs from spending cuts in their party’s “Pledge to America” campaign manifesto last fall. But the House’s new majority leader, Rep. Eric Cantor of Virginia, has said defense programs could join others on the cutting board.

The defense budget is about $700 billion annually. Few in Congress have been willing to make cuts as U.S. troops fight in Afghanistan and wind up the operation in Iraq. …

“The widely held sentiment among Tea Party Patriot members is that every item in the budget, including military spending and foreign aid, must be on the table,” said Mark Meckler, co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots. “It is time to get serious about preserving the country for our posterity. …

“Everything is ultimately on the table,” said Rep. Jon Runyan of New Jersey, a freshman Republican and a Tea Party favorite.

That view could produce a rough tenure for the 6-foot-7 (2-meter) former pro football player, who just earned a coveted spot on the House Armed Services Committee, a fierce protector of military interests. …

In an unusual political pairing, liberal Democratic Rep. Barney Frank of Massachusetts and Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, a libertarian and former Republican presidential candidate, have joined forces in pushing for substantial reductions in the defense budget, including closing some of the 600-plus military bases overseas. …

Full story


11/16/2012 Update

Alleging Republican ‘blind eye’ on defense spending, GOP senator proposes cuts (Tom Curry, NBC News, Nov. 15, 2012) — A Senate Republican fiscal hawk offered a 74-page menu of Defense Department spending cuts Thursday that could save taxpayers nearly $68 billion over 10 years. Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., said he and his staff had identified several categories of “non-defense spending at the Pentagon,” outlays which he said had “little to do with national security.” At a Capitol Hill press conference, Coburn accused his fellow Senate Republicans of “having a blind eye on spending.” He summed up their approach as “It’s OK to cut spending anywhere except the Defense Department.” But, he said “to be legitimate and have any integrity on the issue … everything has to be on the table.” … Full story


FROM THE ARCHIVES: One Year Ago — January 23, 2010

Deadly Day in AfPak War Zone

A U.S. special operations member pays his final respects for a comrade killed in Afghanistan’s Farah province. (Photo credit: Maya Alleruzzo / AP)

One year ago today, I reported that the death of two U.S. soldiers in southern Afghanistan brought to at least 22 the number of American service members killed in January 2010, compared with only 14 for the whole of January 2009. Meanwhile, in Pakistan, militants ambushed Pakistani security forces at checkpoints in two regions close to the Afghan border, sparking gunbattles that left 22 insurgents and two troops dead.


FROM THE ARCHIVES: Two Years Ago — January 23, 2009

Army Issues Statement on Suicides

Image: Widow with photo of husband
Amanda Henderson holds a portrait of her late husband, Sgt. 1st Class Patrick Henderson. (Photo credit: Herb Nygren, Jr. / AP)

Two years ago today, on Jan. 23, 2009, I reported that a U.S. Army probe into suicides among Houston-based recruiters, all veterans of combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, said medical problems factored in the deaths but none had been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

3 Responses to “Defense Cuts on Tea Party Table”
  1. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Tea Party Cannibalizing GOP Says:

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    […] Defense Cuts on Tea Party Table (Jan. 23, 2011) […]

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    […] Defense Cuts on Tea Party Table (Jan. 23, 2011) […]

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