GOP Doesn't Care about Deficits ... Especially When It Comes to Defense Spending

With release of their cut-to-the-bone 302(b) suballocations last week, the House Appropriations Committee provided yet another display of how Republicans in general - and conservatives in particular – don't care about deficits, as the defense budget received zero scrutiny.

No amount of funding for the defense industry could quench the GOP's insatiable thirst for cluster bombing brown people in distant countries ... for freedom.

Actually, that's not quite right: the House GOP had the gall to shower the defense industry with more money while continuing to gut basic domestic programs, like infrastructure, food safety, and aid to children and pregnant women, the unemployed, and those facing foreclosure of their homes.

After a rancorous debate over the markup of its fiscal year (FY) 2012 defense authorization bill, the House Armed Services Committee provided an additional $100 million to a suspect missile defense project that has already received over $30 billion and, according to the Army's missile defense head, can't even spend the additional funds. The funding boost, mind you, is in light of the Department of Defense (DOD) axing a similar project because of a lack of results and poor performance by the prime contractor, MEADS International.

But don't worry, MEADS International, I'm sure House Republicans will find a reason to continue funding your abysmal project too in spite of arguments to the contrary by the Pentagon, especially if you lobby House Armed Services Committee Chair Rep. Howard "Buck" McKeon (R-CA) enough.

Speaking of keeping alive programs the Pentagon doesn't want, the House Armed Services Committee brought back to life the recently killed alternative engine for the F-35 fighter jet during its deliberations as well. General Electric (GE) and Rolls-Royce even trotted McKeon out to scribble in the pages of the daily banking pamphlet of record - the Wall Street Journal - in an attempt to justify the senseless measure.

With the "Beltway Deficit Feedback Loop" playing at a deafening roar, and Republicans fighting every call to scrutinize defense spending, it can be hard to gain traction in this battle. That's why a group of good government organizations, including OMB Watch, will send a letter to Congress next week arguing that any spending cuts must incorporate the DOD budget. Let's hope Congress gets the message.

Image by Flickr user Official U.S. Navy Imagery used under a Creative Commons license.

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