Lawmakers Slam Colleagues’ Talk of 2024 Defense Cuts
Still, Rep. Jordan insists “everything” is on the table.
Lawmakers are speaking out against proposals to pare 2024 federal spending to 2022 levels.
Discussions of such proposals are among the reported concessions made by Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., as he sought votes to become Speaker of the House. The 2022 federal topline was $1.5 billion, including $727.7 for the Defense Department; the recently enacted 2023 budget of $1.7 billion includes $797 billion for the Pentagon.
Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, responded on Twitter that the defense budget would not be touched.
Rep. Joe Courtney, D-Conn., said Wednesday that he is concerned about the budget-cutting talk, calling it a “completely unrealistic policy” and a “fool’s errand.”
“Rolling back the top line to a number that just does not fit the moment is something that we're going to have to come to grips with because that does affect what the [national defense authorization act] looks like in terms of what top line number is,” Courtney said during a panel discussion at the 2023 Surface Navy Association National Symposium in Arlington, Virginia. “And obviously it's very early and I'm hopeful that the past experience of sequestration is going to push us to realize that we've got to come up with a better way to set the budget and authorization process.”
Rep. Rob Wittman, R-Va., said on the panel that he has talked with lawmakers on the House Appropriations and Budget committees—which will have new members—whom he says understand why it is important to provide proper funding to the military.
“There are a lot of other elements of spending that we're going to have to have a debate about. But the discretionary lines, especially the defense discretionary line, I think is one of those places where people are pretty much in unison on saying, ‘That's not where we need to go to accumulate any savings’,” Wittman said. “So we'll have lots to debate about non-defense discretionary, and on the mandatory spending programs, which is where the attention needs to be.”
He said the Defense funding provided by the House Budget Committee must factor in inflation—a reported 7.1 percent in November—or “you’re actually going to lose ground,” he said.