Defense cut proposal loses big in Congress

By Frederico Bartels | The Daily Signal

The Congressional Progressive Caucus introduced a measure in both the Senate and the House to cut the U.S. defense budget by 10%.

The proposed amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act was bolstered by a flood of op-eds from think tanks advocating a “more restrained U.S. foreign policy” — shorthand for the U.S. abdicating its current global leadership role.

In the end, in a victory Wednesday for those who care about the security of our nation, Congress soundly rejected both amendments.

Gage Skidmore/Flickr

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., went on to invoke Martin Luther King Jr.’s words: “A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.”

The House rejected the amendment 324-93, with 139 Democrats joined by all Republicans to defeat the proposal. The Senate defeated it 77-23, with 23 Democrats joining the majority.

If anyone wants a sense of what this type of reduction would do to the armed forces, check out the first edition of The Heritage Foundation’s Index of U.S. Military Strength, released in 2015.

Heritage’s index details the precipitous declines in readiness that took place as a result of cuts imposed through the Budget Control Act of 2011 and the budget policies of the previous administration.

Seeking to justify draconian cuts, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., declared that “the Republican Senate has decided to provide more funding for the Pentagon than the next 11 nations’ military budgets combined.”

This is a canard that relies on simply converting yuan or rubles to dollars with no consideration to how far the money goes in each of the local economies.

When U.S. defense funding is normalized, it is a bit more than that of China and Russia, which do not have the same security obligations as the U.S.

Curiously, the Vermont senator omits any discussion about how the United States could potentially adjust its strategy to accommodate such slashes to the military budget, apart from calling for “ending endless wars.”

Except, there really are no “endless wars” to end.

The U.S. does have around 8,000 troops in Afghanistan, but they are helping that country stand up its own security forces—not fighting a war. That’s a legitimate role for our military to ensure that Afghanistan never again becomes a breeding ground for terrorism once again to spread.

After conflicts, the U.S. often has kept military forces in place to help countries such as the Philippines, Japan, Germany, and Iraq reestablish their security institutions.

Most puzzling is the omission from the discussion of the nature of the threats facing our nation. Nowhere was there discussion of how the U.S. could reasonably expect to handle the challenges posed by China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea with a much-diminished military.

As highlighted by Heritage’s vice president of foreign and defense policies, James Carafano, “the cost of defense should rise or fall in proportion to the security threats facing our nation. And, by that measure, it is abundantly clear that we should be spending more—not less—on our defense.”

A good defense budget needs to begin with the threats facing our nation to build a joint force that is capable of meeting those threats.

Sanders went on to invoke Martin Luther King Jr.’s words: “A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.”

However, the senator conveniently overlooked the fact that social and economic spending by the federal government amounts to $3 trillion annually.

If my math is correct, $3 trillion is a little more than the $740 billion being allocated for our national defense. It is safe to say that, by that metric, the United States is quite far from “spiritual death.”

Thankfully, the belief that we should cut our defense budget to spend more on social programs, regardless of the external threats to our nation, is confined to the fringe of Congress—for now.

Even the Democratic minority whip, Sen. Dick Durbin of Ilinois, spoke upagainst these mindless cuts, saying that he disagrees with Sanders’ “basic approach of across-the-board-cuts.”

The chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., defined the debate well by saying that “the proposal by House progressives to cut the defense budget would be tantamount to cutting off our nose to spite our face.”

At least for this coming fiscal year, the “nose cutters” have lost.

Image courtesy of Gage Skidmore/Flickr

9 thoughts on “Defense cut proposal loses big in Congress

  1. Socialist Sanders, yup the one who calls himself an independent,which is such a joke, he has always voted the democrat way. He is so democrat it’s sicking. He has the Gov, the mayor of NY at his $750.000 lakefront home a lot and has even had AOC there too. The people of North Hero are waiting to see if Creepy Joe will be showing up.
    Sanders hates the Military, always had. He hasn’t voted anything for the Military/Veterans.

  2. If Bernie supports cuts in defense spending, I would venture to say that the funds Bernie wants to cut are being wel, spent. Anything Bernie opposesmust be good.

  3. Bernie, go hide in the basement with Biden. Here’s some duct tape that you can use as a face mask.

  4. Look at the House and Senate votes on Bernie’s amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act…….The Democrats ran away from Bernie and his thinking. In the House 139 Dems voted with Republicans and while 23 Dems in the Senate voted with the Republicans and against Bernie.

    Bernie doesn’t get it…….His far left thinking is poison to a significant segment of Democrats. Poison that could also cost Joe Biden mightily in his Presidential bid as a result of his loading up the Democrats’ platform with far left wing thinking from Bernie, AOC and the rest squad.

    If the Democrats were so quick to run away from Bernie on his proposed amendment to the defense spending bill, what will the moderate democrats and independents do in November when faced with Biden’s platform decorated with Bernie’s far left thinking?…….They’ll run from Bernie’s poison and abandon Biden in a blink of an eye.

  5. Oh BernieBernieBernie bless your heart. I suspect your position here is a continuation of your peace-is-the-opposite-of-war epiphany from the 60’s. It was seminal to the adolescent blooming then and may still have some resonance now. BUT…it’s as sophomoric now as it was then. I summit that you might want to re-consider the confusing irony…The Military, warriors, war making readiness are the source of peace. It’s intention and predictable impact is to restrain bad actors…yes bad does exist, another archaic vision from us in the alternate universe. Genghis does not prevail if it’s a credible reality that we might eat him. The challenges from a plethora of demonstrable pernicious players ( Russia, Iran, and North Korea and others) will bloom as threats to us and our allies if we don’t continue our dialogues with an axe in our hands.

  6. Well as bad as things are, there was light at the end of the tunnel, I didn’t have
    to listen to ” Social Sanders ” rhetoric ” BS ” after he got stumped again in his bid !!

    Now this buffon is back, wanting to cut the defense budget apparently this draft
    dodger should have have tried some OD green on for a while, maybe he would
    have a different outlook…………… Nah, he loves the DC tit………. Pathetic !!

    Vermont should hang it’s head in shame having him represent us.

    • Amen! Thanks foe saying it. Bernie followers are Willfull Idiots. They think someone is going to pay for their failures or laziness. When he is on any media I shut the volume off so my blood pressure stabilizes. Nice to see him beat down again. He’s done nothing in 30+ years. We should be ashamed for allowing him to become a millionaire on the donations of those who believed his snake oil solutions to their despair.

  7. Sanders is a communist/socialist mischief maker, originally from Brooklyn.

    His actions to weaken the US border on TREASON, especially with China on the rise.

    To prove his loyalty, he went to Russia on his honeymoon, when the Iron Curtain was still in effect.

    He is a totally unserious/impractical person, espousing theories that have no profitable outcomes, except for more government command/control of everything, al a KARL MARX, who dreamt up his nightmare theory in the 1800s.

    If the Russian government had not been so weak in the early 1900s, Lenin/Trotsky and their ilk would never have succeeded to overthrow the government.

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