Politics

Proposed GOP Budget Gridlocked Over Calls For Increased Defense Spending

| by Kathryn Schroeder

A stalemate has occurred between GOP fiscal conservatives and defense hawks over defense funding, resulting in a stall of their 2016 fiscal budget.

The House Republican leadership wants to boost defense spending by $20 billion without making cuts elsewhere in the budget to offset the cost, reports Politico. The proposed amendment is reportedly to appease defense hawks who could potentially vote against the budget on the House floor.

Those in favor of increased defense spending find it important due to the multiple national security threats around the world facing the United States today.

"It's a totally different world we live in and I think we have to recognize that," Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) told CNN. 

Rep. Tom Rooney (R-FL) believes that if defense spending is not increased, the country will be “weaker.”

"As a Republican I do not want our budget to go down. But as a veteran and somebody who has served in the Army I am not going to be part of something that I believe that makes our country weaker," Rooney said Tuesday.

Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) has assured fellow GOP leaders that the amendment will be approved. In an effort to break the impasse, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) visited the Budget Committee late Wednesday night. His efforts were rejected.

Budget Chairman Tom Price (R-GA) had previously warned House leaders the amendment did not have enough votes to pass but the leadership proceeded anyway. According to a Republican source, GOP Reps. Dave Brat of Virginia, Gary Palmer of Alabama, Scott Garrett of New Jersey, Alex Mooney of West Virginia, Tom McClintock of California, and Mark Sanford of South Carolina, are among the members who have raised concerns over the leadership plan.

If Republicans cannot pass the budget it will be an embarrassment as it adds to the list of failed efforts this year, led by House Speaker John Boehner.

Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell vowed that a GOP controlled Congress meant they would prove their party is fit to govern and providing a unified budget is “key” to that vow.

House Republican leadership met with Budget Chairman Tom Price (R-GA) this morning to continue their attempt to end the stalemate. There is no clear timeframe as to when it will, or must, end.

If the budget is not passed, it will not result in any crisis because budget resolutions are non-binding—they are symbolic documents. Spending levels for various government agencies are set by the budget and it outlines the party’s priorities for reforming entitlement programs and the tax code, but they are not enforceable under the law.

According to senior GOP lawmakers and aides, House leaders are far from the 217 votes they need to pass the budget.

“I think at the end of the day, the national security folks are going to support this budget,” said House Armed Services Chairman Mac Thornberry of Texas. “How’s that’s all going to happen, I’m going to leave that to Chairman Price because it’s his product."

Sources: Politico, CNN / Photo Source: CNN