Nip and Tuck


Budget hawk Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.) is trying again to reduce the defense budget. Last year, he unsuccessfully sought a $17 billion cut to the Pentagon’s base budget. This year, he’s trying for a realistic reduction.
During debate over the fiscal 2013 spending bill, Mulvaney has proposed an amendment that would hold defense spending at the same level as 2012 - $518 billion. The House bill provides $519.2 billion, $3.1 billion more than the president’s budget request. So the cut to defense is a little more than $1 billion. And it will still have to be reconciled with a Senate bill providing even less money for defense.
Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), who is keen to slice defense dollars, supports the bill, though he is embarrassed the amount is so little. Still, it may not survive.
But it provided Mulvaney some time to speak about the absurdities of Washington rhetoric. During the debate over the amendment, he said, lawmakers might hear that over the last two years the defense budget has been cut by $39 billion. But base spending between 2011 and 2012 increased slightly, and it will again in 2013. “Only in Washington DC is that considered a $39 billion cut,” he said.
If we can’t do this, Mulvaney said, “Do we really think we have an honest chance at saving our debt and deficit problem?”

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