House, Senate Republicans battle over possible defense cuts in effort to curb spending

Republicans’ efforts to curb federal spending in conjunction with debt ceiling negotiations appear to have a major hurdle: defense.  Top House GOP members have been open to cutting money from the Pentagon. Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, said in January that “everything has to be on the table.” Senate Republican leaders, however, do not see it that way. “My goal is to get Kevin and everybody looking at the defense needs based on threats. And the threat portfolio, the threat picture, doesn’t justify being on the low end of GDP,” Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., told Punchbowl News. Graham reportedly urged House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., to maintain a defense budget of at least 3.2% of the GDP.  “I don’t want to go backward because, when you look at the threat China [presents], we don’t have the military footprint where we need it to be,” Graham told the outlet. JORDAN SAYS CUTS TO MILITARY SPENDING SHOULD BE ‘ON THE TABLE,’ AS MONEY SHOULD NOT GO TO ‘WOKE’ POLICIES Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., also opposes defense cuts, and he sits on the Senate Appropriations subcommittee for Defense. Sen. Deb Fischer, R-Neb., who serves on the Senate Armed Forces Committee, has also opposed making cuts from defense. “It’s important that members become educated, attend classified briefings, have a fuller understanding of the threats this country faces and what we need to do in order to meet the challenges of those threats,” Fischer told Punchbowl News. “I anticipate that we will continue, here in the Senate anyway, to see that level of support. Because we do have an understanding of what this country needs to meet the threats.” FEDS WASTED ‘AT LEAST’ $191 BILLION ON FAKE COVID UNEMPLOYMENT CLAIMS, SAYS LABOR DEPARTMENT WATCHDOG One possible remedy that has been floated is examining possible waste in the defense budget, an idea that McCarthy is reportedly looking into. Two areas that apparently will not see cuts are Social Security and Medicare. Republicans have long insisted that they have no plans to scale back on those benefits, which has not stopped President Biden and other Democrats from accusing them of wanting to cut back on the programs. After Biden’s latest charge during his State of the Union address, Republicans firmly insisted that there will be no such cuts.
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