2C: the FCNL Staff Blog

House Leaders Budget Would Grow Pentagon, Cut Everything Else

By Jim Cason on 03/27/2012 @ 10:30 AM

Tags: War Is Not the Answer, budget

Jim Cason

Anyone who thought that cutting Pentagon spending might be easier in an era of concern for the federal debt should take a look at the different budget proposals voted on in the House of Representatives this week.

Most of the budget proposals that Congress voted on this week would at least partially reverse the nearly $1 trillion in cuts to Pentagon spending that are required by legislation passed last year The Heritage Foundation and others have already praised the effort to restore Pentagon spending that is included in House Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan's budget.

One question we should be asking members of Congress is if Pentagon spending is restored, what else will be cut? This chart and the analysis that goes with it from the authoritative Center on Budget and Policy Priorities provides some answers to that question for Rep. Paul Ryan's budget.

Take a close look at the blue and red lines on this chart. The Center experts point out that under the Ryan plan Pentagon spending (blue line) would grow over the next ten years while spending on "non-defense discretionary funding" (red line) such as veteran's health care, law enforcement, job training, education and other priorities would plummet. These are the choices Rep. Paul Ryan and the House leadership are making.

The House is expected to approve the Ryan budget today. But Representative Paul Ryan is not alone in seeking to preserve full funding for the Pentagon. The president, the Pentagon and many lawmakers from both major political parties have come out against proposals to cut Pentagon spending by $1 trillion over the next ten years. One exception is the Progressive Caucus Budget. To get a sense of how some of these proposals stack up, take a look at this analysis prepared by our friends at the National Priorities Project.

One question we in the FCNL community should consider asking is if Pentagon spending is not cut, what else might be cut or where else would Congress get the revenue to fund other government priorities. The answers to those questions will say a lot about the priorities of our government.

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